Phoenix Suns’ Josh Jackson told Scoop B Radio that Sixers’ Ben Simmons ‘by definition’ is not a rookie. Press Play Below to Listen!
The Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns are inseparable these days.
At Thursday’s NBA Draft, the Sixers shipped hometown kid and Villanova product, Mikal Bridges to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith.
Most were unhappy!
Insert neverending controversy: the case of Ben Simmons as a rookie this season.
The NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award will be awarded at Monday’s NBA Awards show in Los Angeles, CA.
So is Ben Simmons a rookie?
“I don’t really think so,” the Phoenix Suns’ Josh Jackson told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
Simmons, the first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft sat out last season after breaking his right foot. The Sixers guard didn’t make his NBA debut until this season on October 18, 2017 against the Washington Wizards.
Simmons posted 18 points and 10 rebounds in the 76ers’ 120-115 season-opening loss.
The fourth pick in last year’s draft, Jackson averaged 13 points and a shade under 5 rebounds for a Suns team that finished 21-61; 15th place in the NBA’s Western Conference.
“Sitting out and then playing the next year, I think that does absolutely give you an advantage,” said Josh Jackson.
Jackson cites Simmons being drafted two years ago in his logic. “In the league for a year,” he said.
“But by definition, you’re still a rookie.”
The Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell, like Jackson was drafted in the 2017 NBA Draft and is aligned with Jackson’s thinking.
During the NBA Playoffs, Mitchell wore a sweatshirt with the definition of the word “rookie” on it to question Simmons’ eligibility.
Mitchell, like Simmons, is a finalist in the league’s Rookie of the Year race.
Simmons likes his odds: “Whatever the decision is, it is,” he said in April.
“But obviously, I’d take myself over anybody.”
For those keeping score at home, this season, all rookie finalists in Monday’s NBA Awards and their respective stats:
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz: 20.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.5 steals
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers: 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds*, 8.2 assists, 1.7 steals
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics: 13.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.0 steals