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The NBA Rookie Race

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In the NBA, top rookies have raced to Rookie of the Year but all of the talk is around Utah Jazz Guard Donovan Mitchell, and Philadelphia 76ers Forward Ben Simmons. These rookies have put up eye-opening stats and achieved great accomplishments in their first season of play which has caught the attention of fans, journalists and even Hall of Famers. Each rookie has taken shots at each other with tweets, interviews, and even designed sweaters. Each feel like they deserve the award and have gained many fans and players to take a side. Mitchell’s side has argued if Simmons is actually a rookie and Simmons’ side have used his stats to the advantage. Both players have battled hard for Rookie of the Year making it the most competitive and active race in the NBA.

 Philadelphia 76ers – Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons was drafted first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2016 but missed all of last season with a broken foot. The main criticism of his Rookie of the Year campaign is that he shouldn’t be considered a rookie at all due to the fact that he had a year to learn the ins and outs of the NBA. League rules say otherwise, and Simmons is likely going to hoist the hardware at the NBA Awards show in June,due to the success he’s been having with Joel Embiid,Markelle Fultz,Dario Saric and the rest of the 76ers. The 76er’s recently made the playoffs in years and finished the season on a 16 game winning streak led by Ben simmons which makes his claim for rookie of the year that much better. He’s also has been a triple double machine who reminds the whole world of a player with the same play style,LeBron James. Ben is currently averaging 15.8 points 8 rebounds and 8 assist. He resembles LeBron in play style so much so that the king himself has named him “The Young King”. With so much success and praise coming to this player he should no doubt be named the ROTY. Many argue that he was drafted a year before so he’s had an advantage due to having some NBA experience, but regardless of his advantage Ben has played his heart out in his first time playing on a NBA court and that’s what truly matters.

 

Utah Jazz – Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell, a 21 year old shooting guard out of Louisville chosen in the 2017 NBA draft is one of the front runners for the rookie of the year race. Drafted with the 13th pick in the draft and traded to Utah via the Nuggets pick, the young rookie also seems to think he should win the award. However the question still stands, does he deserve it? The former Cardinal is currently averaging 20.5 Points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists on 44% shooting from the field. These are spectacular numbers, which have never been seen before since rookie Carmelo Anthony in the 2003-2004 season. As a rookie he’s never led a playoff team in scoring since the former Denver Nugget had done so in his first season. Mitchell had a steady climb to greatness, proving himself game after game. With his on-ball defense on one end of the court and straight out scoring on the other. Donovan has not failed to receive praise from other NBA veterans as well, who acknowledge his claim on the Rookie award, with athletes like Demarcus Cousins, Demar DeRozan and Damian Lillard choosing him for the award. The things he has done as a Rookie ensure Jazz fans they have a future ahead of them, as they believed their season was over with the loss of Gordon Hayward. They realized, though they were fortunately wrong with the rook’s forty-one point game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Hitting multiple clutch shots down the stretch of the fourth quarter of the game, finishing around elite frontcourt bigs in Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins. The rookie can do much more then finish too, having the most threes of any rookie in the history of the league. Passing Damian Lillard and what some consider the greatest shooter of all time in Stephen Curry. Let’s also not forget about the 2018 slam dunk contest where Mitchell put on a show, impersonating multiple historic dunkers in the process. He is not just great on the court, but is also off the court. Mitchell is a down to earth, humble player who speaks only about getting wins for his team. Though, he ended up turning many heads with the unveiling of his newest sweatshirt with the definition of rookie on it. Which some took as a nod to the questioning of his leading competitor, Ben Simmons who has been on an NBA roster for 2 years which as Mitchell emphasized is not a “real rookie”. Despite this, he continues to dominate all rookies in scoring, and will now be preparing to play the Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.

 

With the games coming to an end and the race coming to the finish line, each rookie has proven themselves to be the best contenders for ROTY. With they’re amazing stats, high achievements and even set records, lots of heat has built up on for who should win. Who do you think finish first in the race to Rookie of the Year?

 

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