Ben Simmons, Guard/Forward for the Philadelphia 76ers, took home the Rookie of the Year Award last night during the 2018 National Basketball Association Awards. His win and the discussion that has been going on throughout the end of the season has caused quite the controversy.
Is Ben Simmons a rookie? Simmons was drafted first overall by the 76ers during the 2016 NBA Draft, but was sidelined for the majority of the 2016-17 season with a foot injury. So if you want to get technical, Simmons is considered a rookie this year because it was during the 2017-18 season that he played the majority of season.
So what’s the controversy? Well while Simmons didn’t at all during his draft year due to injury, he was still around the team while rehabbing his injury, which is an advantage that the other rookies didn’t have since ya know they didn’t get drafted until last year. Now I partially agree with this argument because Simmons had access to the team doctors and trainers to help him refine his skills while rehabbing from his injury that definitely helped the team make their playoff run this season. Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics didn’t have the opportunity to spend a whole year with their teams bonding with the team and learning the process. They had to come in and prove their worth right off the bat, which is why I agree with those that say that Simmons isn’t a true rookie.
But let’s break it down by looking at their statistics, ya know what’s really important (you can find their full stats on basketball-reference.com):
As you can see these guys have similarly impressive stats which makes for a tight race for Rookie of the Year. And after looking at each of these guys stats, I think that ultimately the reason that Simmons walked away with the award is because of the 76ers finally making the playoffs after tanking for so long and asking fans to #TrusttheProcess.
No matter what, Mitchell and Tatum had great seasons and will only keep getting better each year. Plus really wouldn’t you rather win the championship instead of some Rookie of the Year?