Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell are nearing the end of 2 historic rookie seasons. They play 2 different styles of basketball (for example, one can shoot beyond 16 feet) and both of them have been incredibly successful in their first full seasons as active NBA players.
But one of them doesn’t believe the other is even close to his competition. There’s confidence and then there’s just arrogance. The second year rookie in Philadelphia put on a solid display of the latter with some recent quotes he gave ESPN.
“Who would I pick? Me, 100 percent,” Simmons told ESPN at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Philadelphia on Saturday...
When the 6-foot-10 point guard was told the Rookie of the Year race appears to be a two-man show, he buried his head down and proceeded to chuckle. Asked what rookies have caught his attention this year, he didn’t mince words.
”None,” Simmons responded promptly. “I want to be where the greats are. So, for me, I watch the guys like [Kevin Durant], [LeBron James], [Stephen] Curry, Russell [Westbrook]. Guys like that. That’s where I want to be. I think for me, that’s what I love to watch.”
I don’t really understand how disrespecting and downplaying Donovan really helps Ben plead his case. They’ve both been incredible and they are both deserving of the hardware. Donovan is not unaware of the rivalry, and he tweeted what appears to be his response to Simmons’ comments early this morning, in which Joe Ingles appears in his mentions.
— Joe Ingles (@Joeingles7) April 9, 2018
Lmao bro like who cares I’m still stuck on your dunk pic.twitter.com/CP13mfMJ20— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) April 9, 2018
make sure u see my t shirt today when I come in ♂️— Joe Ingles (@Joeingles7) April 9, 2018
If that have a shirt made of this dunk already then your the— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) April 9, 2018
If that’s not team chemistry, I don’t know what is.
For those who missed it, here is Donovan’s interview on First Take. If you watch this, you know that one difference between Simmons and Mitchell is that Donovan is a showman. He knows that being humble and giving credit to teammates is a much better look than cocky self-aggrandizement.
The best thing about it, though, is that Donovan means it. He is a humble guy. He does recognize his teammates’ talents. He even recognizes the talents of other basketball players—even though his basketball is literally his job, he can’t get enough.
Kenna and Trey Burke going crazy— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) March 27, 2018
Now, I’ve seen some of my Jazz twitter buddies having this sentiment:
UTAH FANS: Please stop caring about the ROY award. Let’s leave it be and let Philly fans look idiotic fighting over an award Michael Carter Williams and Tyreke Evans won. It don’t mean jack— Donovan Mitchell better than MJ (@colton_foy) April 9, 2018
There’s some merit to this. Tyreke Evans and Michael Carter-Williams are basically NBA ciphers at this point. Rookie of the Year hardware doesn’t mean that much. It’s not a ring, it’s not even a Northwest Division title.
Here’s the thing, though: it’s fun. The Jazz have a player who is relevant. He’s a star, and he’s been in the national news for some time now. Remember when Gordon Hayward was all over Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Yahoo, and the like during his first six years? How about when the top NBA players stopped to talk to him, well, ever? Me neither.
Ben Simmons is good. Okay? Okay. If you’d trade him for Donovan Mitchell the basketball player I question your judgment. If you’d trade him for Donovan Mitchell the man, though, you’re straight-up out of your mind.