Donovan Mitchell doesn’t appear to believe that Ben Simmons should be in the running for the Rookie of the Year award, which he made clear on Tuesday.
Mitchell wore a “rookie” sweatshirt before Tuesday’s game against the Warriors, which featured the definition of the word. It sure looked like he was indicating that Simmons may be playing in his first season in the league, but that he may not qualify as a rookie by definition, being that he was drafted in 2016.
Simmons was asked if Mitchell’s actions have bothered him on the court by a reporter after Tuesday’s win over the Hawks, and this is what he had to say about it:
“If I wasn’t a rookie this year, he would have definitely had it,” Simmons said. “But, you know, I’m not, so.”
But he didn’t stop there, either. Simmons addressed a group of reporters in a postgame media session, and offered this as well when asked about Mitchell’s sweatshirt.
“I think if his argument is that I’m not a rookie, if that’s the only argument he has, I’m in pretty good shape then,” he said. “There’s a rule in the NBA for a reason — I’m not going to wear a sweatshirt tomorrow though.”
Simmons did a good job of responding with a zinger but not letting Mitchell’s actions get to him. He knows that the film is what matters, and what he’s been able to do on the court this season has been remarkable.
The Sixers have won 15 consecutive games (the team’s most in franchise history), and they have been playing without Joel Embiid for a good chunk of that stretch. Simmons’ stellar play is a big reason why the team has been able to accomplish that, and it’s clear they can match up well with any other Eastern Conference team in the playoffs.
As for the Rookie of the Year award, it would be quite shocking if Simmons doesn’t win it.