Rick Carlisle does not think Ben Simmons is a rookie
Ben Simmons is considered a rookie by the NBA, but not Rick Carlisle.
Simmons is enjoying an impressive season, one that could see him win the league’s Rookie of the Year Award. Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell will receive his share of votes as well and is Simmons’ main competition for the honor. Ahead of Thursday night’s Dallas Mavericks-Utah Jazz game, Carlisle said Mitchell is the only choice.
Rick Carlisle: “Mitchell has gotta be up there for Rookie if the Year, doesn’t he?”
Reporter: “Him and Simmons.”
Carlisle: “Yeah, but Simmons isn’t really a rookie.”
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) March 22, 2018
Simmons was drafted in 2016, but missed the entire 2016-17 season due a broken bone in his foot. Although he was unable to play last season, he was around the team and did get acclimated to NBA life, giving him a year resembling “redshirt” status at the college level. In 69 games this season, Simmons is averaging 16.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists, and 1.7 steals.
Mitchell was selected No. 13 overall during last year’s NBA Draft. He has helped the Jazz make up for the loss of Gordon Hayward, who joined the Celtics as a free agent. Mitchell is averaging 20 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.4 steals through 68 games this season.