Ben Simmons or Donovan Mitchell: Chris Broussard unveils who will be the 2018 Rookie of the Year

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Chris Broussard and Nick Wright discuss who will be the 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year: Ben Simmons or Donovan Mitchell. Who do you think has the edge?

CHRIS BROUSSARD: Anyone, and I don't know if you agree with this, but anyone saying Donovan Mitchell, and who votes for Donovan Mitchell, I'm not mad at you. I will not be upset, because he is playing phenomenally. Reminding a lot of people of a Dwayne Wade.

NICK WRIGHT: Mm-hmm.

CHRIS BROUSSARD: And by himself, no I don't want to say by himself, because you got Rudy Gobert. You've got some good players there, in Utah.

JENNA WOLFE: But?

CHRIS BROUSSARD: And a good coach. But he's almost got them in the playoffs in the west, and they're certainly in the hunt. Won 11 straight, however, it is rookie of the year. And Ben Simmons, we've already started judging Ben Simmons by a high standard. Because people, have said, well, he went in a slump the last couple of months. No, he's played well the entire season. He's been 16, 17 points. Seven assists, seven rebounds, 50% shooting. I actually wanting him to shoot more.

Now everybody says he can't shoot. Any he can't. Can't shoot a jumper, but he can score. There's a difference. Lonzo can't shoot, but is it really a score? Ben Simmons can score. He's the closest thing I've ever seen, including Penny Hardaway, to Magic Johnson. Because Magic didn't have a jump shot, he had a set shot. But he could score. And Ben Simmons has never dipped below like 52% shooting, because he can score.

NICK WRIGHT: People are like, the guy can't shoot. And he can't shoot long range. But he--

CHRIS BROUSSARD: Or even mid-range.

NICK WRIGHT: But fine, but he's shooting 53% from the field. I echo all these points. And I understand Utah's on a nice winning streak. Or they were until they lost to the Rockets, I get that. However, how about this? On court, off court. Philly, with Simmons, on court, outscores their opponents by 5 points per 100 possessions. With him off the court, they get outscored by 3 points per 100 possessions. Why is Philly, the seventh seed, why does Philly have 32 wins? Two guys, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. The reason that people, I think, like the Donovan Mitchell story, even though, at least to me, he's been at least the slightly inferior player. My friend Chris Carter, who is a Donovan Mitchell advocate, I believe Jenna's a Donovan Mitchell advocate, is because he was drafted this year. People think Ben Simmons, it's a little unfair that he got a red-shirt year. I think that plays against him because he was drafted two years ago --

JENNA WOLFE: No, not necessarily. Donovan Mitchell's averaging 19 points a game. Leads all rookies.

NICK WRIGHT: Yep.

JENNA WOLFE: He's also a better shooter than Ben Simmons. A better scorer than Ben Simmons. He's the best player on his team. Ben Simmons shares that with someone else. When you guard against Utah, when you game plan against Utah, you're game-playing against Donovan Mitchell. That's not necessarily always the case with Philadelphia.

CHRIS BROUSSARD: Yeah, there's reasons to vote for Mitchell. But you mentioned he's a better scorer. But everything else Simmons is better at. Mitchell's more athletic. But Simmons is playing really good defense. He's obviously the better passer, the better rebounder. We mentioned his efficiency. And, look, he's leading a team into the playoffs. Now like you said, he's got Embiid, they are in the East. But still, he's been better for the entirety of the season.

NICK WRIGHT: And I want to make this point clear, because Jenna makes excellent, very fair points. I am not anti-Donovan Mitchell. I think Donovan Mitchell is great. I think he is, if you didn't read the draft right now, Donovan Mitchell would go number one.

CHRIS BROUSSARD: Yeah.

NICK WRIGHT: You know what I mean? I mean, we haven't seen the number one pick, Markelle Fultz. And Donovan Mitchell now looks better than Lonzo Ball. It's not anti-Donovan Mitchell. I just think Ben Simmons is a special player that's already a fringe all-star guy.

CHRIS BROUSSARD: He could have easily been an all-star.

JENNA WOLFE: He's also averaging more fourth quarter points and he's got two first names.

[LAUGHTER]

And I think that's something that neither of you factored in, when discussing rookie of the year.