Ben Simmons vs. Donovan Mitchell for NBA Rookie of the Year has become one of basketball’s great philosophical debates, pitting fans and players firmly in one camp or the other.
The Simmons camp notes that the Philadelphia 76ers rookie has surpassed his lofty expectations and shown the stuff that had scouts touting him as a transcendent player from the moment he stepped on an NBA court. His averages of 16 points, 8 rebounds and 8.1 assists have him mentioned in the same breath as Oscar Robertson.
His arrival alongside a healthy Joel Embiid have shown “The Process” to actually be working now, with the 76ers graduating from a laughing stock to 50 wins and home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
He made his case on Monday that he is “100 percent” the rookie of the year in an interview with ESPN.
The Mitchell camp touts that he’s the leading scorer on a Utah Jazz playoff team who’s also capable of filling up the box score with averages of 20.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. He s And one other small detail. He’s absolutely, no doubt, by all accounts an actual rookie in the NBA. A point that Mitchell hammered home Tuesday night ahead of Utah’s game against the Golden State Warriors.
Donovan Mitchell’s hoodie though lmao pic.twitter.com/VFbeugz77i
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) April 10, 2018
In case you can’t make it out, that’s Mitchell sporting a hoodie with a dictionary definition of “rookie.”
An athlete playing his or her first season as a member of a professional sports team
So Mitchell has decided to play the Simmons-isn’t-really-a-rookie card, a heady play noting that Simmons was actually drafted and under contract last season before a foot injury ended his rookie season before it started.
Besides gaining the attention of Twitter, Mitchell’s hoodie caught the eyes of Dictionary.com, which jumped on the opportunity for some publicity by offering to help both sides in the fray.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) April 11, 2018
Blake Griffin, who, like Simmons missed his entire rookie season, set a precedent in winning unanimous Rookie of the Year honors in 2010-11 after recovering from a broken kneecap. He chimed in Tuesday night with his take on Mitchell’s hoodie.
bro it was like 8 years ago…. ohhhhh i get it https://t.co/b3quTj2JvJ
— Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin23) April 11, 2018
Mitchell followed up his hoodie burn by passing Damian Lillard with his 186th 3-pointer to become the most prolific 3-point shooting rookie in league history.
Simmons responded with 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the 76ers’ 15th straight win and a postgame jab of his own.
Simmons addresses the Mitchell hoodie postgame: "If his argument is I'm not a rookie, if that's the only argument he has, I'm in pretty good shape then."
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) April 11, 2018
Mitchell responded on Twitter, seemingly letting his actions — and his hoodie — do his talking for him.
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) April 11, 2018
Whichever side you fall on, this race has evolved into one worth watching on and off the court.
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