ROTY: Who’s Your Pick?

Staff Writer: Brenden Foo 

The rookie class for the NBA this year was one of the best rookie classes that anyone has seen in a very long time. With all these great options this year for candidates, the race for the award is going to be very close. Junior William Callahan stated, “There are so

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Donovan Mitchell pumped after beating the Thunder in the playoffs. Courtesy of Creative Commons Gathered by: Carter Mazcko 

many good rookies this year, I have no idea which one deserves the award,” which shows that even fans of the NBA don’t even know who they would pick. There were plenty of rookies who had underwhelming first seasons, such as De’aaron Fox who only averaged 11 points and could only lead his team to a 27-win season, or Malik Monk, who played so mediocrely, that he was moved down to the G league team for the Charolette Hornets. There are a select few players who played exceptionally this season who should without a doubt be the top three candidates. 

The first obvious choice to be selected for the award is 21-year-old Donovan Mitchell. He was drafted by the Nuggets but then immediately traded to the Utah Jazz. The Jazz were supposed to have a very rough season this year, considering that Gordan Hayward, who was one of the only true all-stars on the team, left them for the Boston Celtics. The first option for the team was no longer there, so they were expected to have to adjust and most likely not make the playoffs, but then came Donavan Mitchell. He came into the team, and automatically knew what he had to do to make this team win, and that was to take over on the offensive side.  

During the regular season Mitchell was averaging just over 20 points a game and added in five rebound and five assists per game. Charles Barkley once said, “I see a young Dwayne Wade developing in Mitchell, but with a better jump shot. Once he develops more as a player, he is going to be a very deadly threat on the court.” He was able to take a team full of role players and Rudy Gobert into the playoffs. He faced a very large challenge in the first round, having to play Russel Westbrook and the Thunder. He was able to carry the team, scoring 24 points per game throughout the playoffs and bring in six rebounds and five assists every game. Mitchell and the Jazz were able to take down the Thunder in six games but were then knocked out of the playoffs by the dominate Houston Rockets. Although he lost in the second round of the playoffs, Mitchell still had an amazing season and should be considered for the award. 

Another player who deserves to be in the talks for Rookie of the Year is Ben Simmons. Simmons was drafted in the 2016 draft by the Philidelphia 76’rs with the number one pick of the draft. During the summer league games, Simmons was struck with an injury that didn’t allow him to play his first season, so when he began playing this year. Although he was not a true rookie, it was still his first season playing in the NBA, and he made the most of it. During the regular season, he was able to almost average a triple double as a rookie, scoring 15 points a game and having eight of both rebounds and assists. Colin Cowherd stated that “Ben Simmons is going to be an all

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Simmons after being knocked out of the playoffs by the Celtics. Courtesy of Creative Commons Gathered by: Carter Mazcko 

-star caliber player. He has the exact same playstyle as Magic Johnson and I can’t wait to watch him develop.”  

The only problem was that Simmons did struggle throughout the playoffs. He played well in the first series against the Miami Heat, leading them to a second round against the Celtics. As soon as Simmons started playing against the Celtics, he started struggling. He stopped being useful to the team, and the plus minus with him on the court was much worse than it was when he was sitting on the bench. The 76’ers are a developing young team, and with Ben Simmons at point guard, they could really make something happen next season with such a good and unselfish guard like Simmons.  

Jayson Tatum also had an excellent season playing for the Boston Celtics. He was picked third overall and came in and became a good forward for the Celtics when they needed him. In the first game of the season Gordan Hayward was hit with a season ending injury, so the Celtics needed Tatum to step and help take some of the scoring pressure off Kyrie, and that is exactly what he did. During the regular season, he averaged 14 points and 5 rebounds per game, which was exactly what he needed to do, since most of the scoring came from Kyrie.  

Once it came to playoff time, there was even more pressure put on him to deliver, since Kyrie was out because he had to have surgery on his knee. That meant that players had to step up and start scoring more and taking more shots. Tatum did not hesitate to shoot more and became one of the scoring leaders for the team in the playoffs, averaging 18 points while p

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Tatum celebrating after hitting a big time shot against the Sixers Courtesy of Creative Commons Gathered by: Carter Mazcko 

ulling in five rebounds and having 3 assists per game. He was able to help the young Celtics team to put away the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games, and the 76’rs in five games. He’s now helping the team to beat the Cavaliers, leading them to a two-game lead in the series. Colin Cowherd has high hopes for the rookie since he stated, “Considering Tatum and Brown are not only asked to do everything for the team, but they are actually delivering, there is no way in my eyes that they won’t be superstars next year.” 

Even with all these players having amazing rookie seasons, one stands out among the others, and that is Donovan Mitchell. Ben Simmons is not a true rookie and was able to do all those things for his team because he had a lot of help from Joel Embiid and JJ Reddick and plenty of other players on the 76’rs. Tatum is playing well in the post season, but it isn’t a post sea

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Ben Simmons looking for an open man to pass to Courtesy of Creative Commons Gathered by: Carter Mazcko 

son award and he also had help from not only Kyrie Irving who is one of the best point guards in the league, but Al Horford and Jaylen Brown, who are great players in their position. Donovan Mitchell only had help from one person, which was Rudy Gobert and he only did things on the defensive side of the court. Donovan Mitchell

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Donovan Mitchell looking to drive the lane against the Rockets Courtesy of Creative Commons Gathered by: Carter Mazcko 

was able to carry a sub par team throughout the season and lead them into the playoffs in the Western Conference, so he is easily the choice to win the award. 

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