By: Terry Vogt (@NotTrigg)
If anybody watched basketball the first month of the season, it was a clear given that Ben Simmons was the Rookie of the Year. It was over! We saw all we needed to see! Just hand him the trophy now and save yourself the headache! Some say it still is. Simmons is putting up a very impressive 16.9 points, 7.4 assists, and 8.5 rebounds while shooting .504% from the floor.
Yeah, that’s insane!
He recorded his first triple-double in his fourth NBA game and soon after filed another against the Indiana Pacers. Last night, January 3rd, Simmons gave the San Antonio Spurs 26 points to go along with five boards and four dimes. So yeah, it’s safe to say the kid is pretty good. However, here comes the BUT. The Sixers hit a rough month of December, Embiid sat due to back soreness, and the Sixers finished December 5-10. Simmons continued to put up good numbers, but the ooh-ahh was not as bright. The Sixers are 2-7 without Joel Embiid in the lineup, which shows right now Simmons is more of the Robin than Batman. This was when a 6’3 guard took it upon himself to make this award chase A LOT more interesting.
Say hello to Donovan Mitchell. The 6’3 point guard on the Utah Jazz who sports number 45. Fresh from the Louisville Cardinals, and suddenly giving you a highlight every time he takes the floor. Now Mitchell doesn’t have the same percentages, rebounds, or assists that Simmons has, but he does average 18 a night. So if you’ve never watched Mitchell, you’re probably thinking why is this impressive? And that’s the thing; you’ve never watched Mitchell. Poster dunks, taking ankles, and alley-oops that should only be in a dunk contest. Not only flashy dunks, but Mitchell is the only scorer that the Utah Jazz have on the team. The rookie wasn’t even a starter when the season began, but when points are needed, the ball is in his hands. Mitchell dropped 41 points on the New Orleans Pelicans on December 1st. Yeah…41. First rookie to do so since Blake Griffin in. 40 points by a rookie in Utah. Gordon Hayward, NBA All-Star, who recently left the Utah Jazz also has one 40 point game as a Jazz member, but he didn’t achieve this until last postseason. Mitchell has burst for 41, 32, 31, and 29 twice so far this season.
So who wins? Ben Simmons? Not a true rookie and not the go-to player, but 18 double-doubles, and four triple-doubles is kinda hard to deny. Or Donovan Mitchell? The scorer and human highlight reel who is leading the Utah Jazz all by himself towards a possible eight seed in the West. It’s too early to tell, but sit back and enjoy the ride, it’s looking like a fun one.