Jarryd Barnes – Chief NBA Writer
The Rookie of the Year award seems like it’s been a one-horse race all season with Sixers (and Aussie product) Ben Simmons looking like the anonymous front-runner since the start of the season, but my mind may have been swayed by a former Louisville Cardinal and 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft in Donovan Mitchell.
Mitchell has made his presence felt in the league since December in the 43 games he’s played in, averaging 22 points, four assists, four rebounds at 45% field goal percentage and an astounding 34% success rate from beyond the arc.
He has become a sure-fire STAR for the Jazz and is currently leading the team in points as the Jazz make a push for the Playoffs, impressing many people.
On the other hand, Simmons has been the definition of consistency all season, leaving people in awe of how a 6’10 point guard can have the ball-handling and passing skills of some of the best point guards in league, with most comparing him to Laker legend Magic Johnson.
The Melburnian has averaged 16.7 points, 7.6 assists, 7.7 rebounds and an elite 54% field goal percentage
Other notable rookies that have impressed throughout the season include Kyle Kuzma (Lakers), Dennis Smith Jr (Mavericks), Lauri Markannen (Bulls), Jayson Tatum (Celtics) and Lonzo Ball (Lakers). All of the above have shown glimpses of greatness in patches, but none have shown the same level of consistency as the two front-runners.
I still think Simmons will win the award, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Mitchell is the winner. That being said, the NBA has a bright future with the young talent we have seen over the last few years!