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Ben Simmons is the ROTY

Not Mitchell, and not Tatum

 

Let’s get this out of the way, Ben Simmons is a rookie. Here’s a list of notable “not true-rookies”: Larry Bird, won rookie of the year after not playing his first year, David Robinson won rookie of the year after not playing his first two years, Blake Griffin beat John Wall (who any other year would’ve won) for rookie of the year after missing his first year, and last year Joel Embiid who missed his first two years was primed to win the award before injuring his knee and sitting out the last third of the season. Do you know what all these players had in common? Nobody gave a damn that they weren’t “true rookies”, the conversation barely even came up, because it’s childish, it’s not a legitimate argument, it’s the whining of sore losers at best. All that people cared about was who was the better player, and that’s all that matters. Ben Simmons is the rookie of the year and it shouldn’t even be a discussion. Let’s run through their numbers:

 

Photo from NBA.com

Photo from NBA.com

Ben Simmons:

PPG: 15.9 (3rd amongst rookies)

RPG: 8.14 (1st)

APG: 8.20 (1st)

BPG: 0.85 (4th)

Total blocks: 70 (3rd)

SPG: 1.75 (1st)

Total steals: 140 (1st)

FG%: 54.73% (3rd)

3-PT%: 0% (last) he’s only attempted 10 though…

Efficiency: 24.03 (1st)

 

Photo from NBCbayarea

Photo from NBCbayarea

Donovan Mitchell

PPG: 20.08 (1st)

RPG: 3.7 (13th)

APG: 3.7 (6th)

BPG: 0.4 (18th)

Total blocks: 25 (tied for 14th)

SPG: 1.44 (3rd)

Total steals: 98 (2nd)

FG%: 43.5% (13th)

3-PT%: 33.5% (11th)

Efficiency: 16.33 (2nd) that’s a big drop-off from 1st…

 

Photo from The Athletic

Photo from The Athletic

Jayson Tatum

PPG: 13.58 (6th)

RPG: 5.11 (8th)

APG: 1.5 (17th)

BPG: 0.7 (7th)  

Total blocks: 58 (4th)

SPG: 1.04 (4th)

Total steals: 83 (4th)

FG%: 47.5% (6th)

3-PT%: 47.5% (1st)

Efficiency: 14.8 (6th)

 

Let’s knock off Tatum right away. Although he is definitely very, very good, he isn’t going to win ROTY. Tatum does look like he has the highest potential out of the 2017 draft  class, his role has been limited due to the excellence around him. But when asked to he has risen to the occasion and looks primed to break out of his role next year, he has hit a flurry of big shots this year and shoots the lights out, hopefully he can keep it up next year when he starts to transition from role player to star player.

Donovan Mitchell, oh boy. Mitchell broke the rookie 3 point record, but on only 34% 3 point shooting, just below the rookie average of 35%, and below the NBA average of 36%. While yes it’s an impressive feat he has only shot so many because of the lack of wing scoring talent on the Jazz. The Jazz’s offensive system is set up around screens and rapid ball movement to get guys wide open, especially for Donovan Mitchell. I’d highly suggest watching BBallbreakdown’s video on Donovan Mitchell here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ord7QpXYvvQ pay attention to how much other players get him open that’s a key part when evaluating him, how much work other players have to do for him for him to play well. Mitchell is not the star player of the Jazz and is definitely not leading them. Mitchell fits into the offensive system perfectly and that’s what allows him to score so much. The team is lead by its defense centered around Gobert, not it’s offense which is centered around ball movement and screens. Mitchell is definitely a natural scorer, but his inefficiency should not just be overlooked because he has good highlights. Oh and about those highlights, if you follow my sports page on instagram @lxw_sports you’ll see that I’ve broken down a few of Mitchell’s highlights and shown that a lot of his drives are a result of either other players freeing him up or just bad defense. Outside of shooting and scoring on the break, Mitchell doesn’t add much to the jazz. He’s a solid defender but the team defense is almost exactly the same with him off the court, and he benefits greatly from the elite defensive players and coaching around him. Looking at his stats, he’s only top 5 in 3 categories, points, steals and efficiency. But his efficiency rating is only about 16, just one point above what is considered an average player.  Mitchell will certainly develop into a very good 3&D role player who can hit clutch shots, but his highlight plays, and supremely overrated dunk contest performance have blinded people from reality. He’s definitely good, but he isn’t anything crazy however fun he is to watch.

Ben Simmons is a future great, that is clear. While he can’t shoot, he doesn’t need to. Defenders back up, giving themselves ample room to react and prepare for his drives an post ups, but he scores anyways, on 55% shooting! While Simmons can score at will, the best element of his game is his playmaking. The whole team runs through him, even with Embiid on the floor. His 8.2 APG is 4th in the NBA and he ranks top 15 in efficiency in the NBA. Simmons controls the pace on an elite level and makes passes that seem almost impossible. On top of this, he’s turning into a defensive star, he can defend any position and is already one of the best on ball defenders in the league, ranking in the top 10 in the league in steals. Nobody has ever had the numbers that Ben Simmons has had except for Oscar Robertson, a guy who played in an era where defense was rarer than Astatine (google it), that is far more impressive than averaging 20 points, which over 50 other rookies have done before... Oh and Simmons has been averaging a triple double over the Sixers win streak, not that big of a deal. Simmons looks ready to take over as the next Lebron as soon as Lebron retires and that is something truly unbelievable. This really shouldn't even be a question...

In the end, Tatum and Mitchell are good, but there’s only one future and current great, and that is Ben Simmons. Ben Simmons should run away with the ROTY without a problem.

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