The NBA regular season is officially over. But instead of focusing on some great matchups in the playoffs, most NBA fans are talking about one thing: the race for NBA Rookie of the Year 2018.
Two rookies, Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons and Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell, have separated themselves from the rest and are in discussions to win the award when it’s announced on June 25.
Mitchell averaged 20.5 points per game along with 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists and had shooting splits of 43.7/34/80. During the season he led his team to a 10+ game winning streak while averaging over 20 points per game – an incredible feat even for an experienced star.
Ben Simmons, on the other hand, has averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 8.2 assists per game while leading a young 76ers team to an unexpected third seed in the Eastern Conference.
Things have now begun to heat up between the two players. Simmons kicked things off when he said no other rookie had caught his eye and that he would “100 percent” vote for himself.
Mitchell responded by posting a meme on Twitter and then by wearing an adidas hoodie that featured the definition of a rookie on its front.
Strategic Marketing….Adidas vs Nike. With the regular season coming to a close @adidashoops is giving @spidadmitchell some extra support for his @NBA Rookie of the Year campaign against @nike’s own @bensimmons by lacing him with a hoodie that offers a favorable definition of what a rookie is. #donavanmitchell is also wearing @amiri cargo pants and @adidas YEEZY 350 V2 sneakers. #upscalehype #adidas #amiri #sprayground #yeezyboost350 #roty #adidasvsnike #nbastyle
Although Simmons technically counts as a rookie, he was drafted a year ahead of Mitchell and sat out an entire season due to an injury. Because he didn’t play a single competitive game last year, his first official season was this one.
Mitchell is arguing that Simmons had a whole year to prepare for the competition in the NBA, while Mitchell was thrown into the deep end after leaving college.
👀 Richard Jefferson says Ben Simmons isn't a "TRUE rookie," picks Donovan Mitchell for ROY. pic.twitter.com/QbgjVY32yO
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) April 10, 2018
Richard Jefferson agreed on his Snapchat story, outlining why he thought Mitchell should win ahead of Simmons, who perhaps boasts the better stat line.
Simmons hit back when asked about it in a postgame interview, saying: “If his argument is I‘m not a rookie. If that’s the only argument he has, I‘m in pretty good shape then. There’s a rule in the NBA for a reason. I’m not gonna wear a sweatshirt tomorrow, though.”
Ben Simmons fires back after hearing about Donovan Mitchell's hoodie.
He says he won't be wearing a sweatshirt tomorrow. 🍿 pic.twitter.com/tXMmcx73DS
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 11, 2018
Now, Mitchell has taken it a step further by wearing another adidas hoodie that once again questions Simmons’ rookie status.
📍Rip City pic.twitter.com/N7BPwPDkak
— x – Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 11, 2018
Mitchell has said he’s only having fun with the sweatshirts: “Why not have fun with it as well? Like I’ve said before, we’ve got the Coach of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year on our team, so I’m not really worried about this award.”
With the announcement still a ways away and both players leading their teams into the playoffs, stay tuned for any updates should this beef continue to escalate.
Who do you think deserves rookie of the year? Let us know in the comments.
Next, check out which NBA players would make the roster if Supreme ever owned an NBA team. Read more here.