Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons took home the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award on Monday night, edging out Utah Jazz standout Donovan Mitchell and Boston Celtics young star Jayson Tatum for the award. Simmons was drafted in 2016, but a foot injury sidelined him for his original rookie year. The 6’9” point forward came onto the scene this season, and averaged 15.8 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to lead the 76ers to the No. 3 seed in the East and a trip to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Simmons was considered the favorite for the award, but a late push from Mitchell made things a competition late into the regular season. The 76ers were also eliminated by Tatum’s Celtics in the second round, and Boston’s rookie exploded as a star in the playoffs, too.
But the Rookie of the Year award embodied Simmons’s dominance as one of the most intriguing prospects to enter the NBA since LeBron James. Some call him the second coming of The King, while others liken him to Magic Johnson. That’s incredible company to be mentioned alongside. And for Simmons, this award is only the beginning.