Cris Carter reacts to Ben Simmons declaring he’s the 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year

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In his discussion with Nick Wright and Jenna Wolfe, Cris Carter reacts to Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons proclaiming that he is the 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year. Who is you pick for the 2018 NBA ROY: Ben Simmons or Donovan Mitchell?

- They asked him a question-- who's the Rookie of the Year? He has been the Rookie of the Year. I don't know why he should've said someone else. Like, it's an honest answer. It's clear he's been better than the rest of the pack. This to me, it's not that difficult.

Now, Ben Simmons, we haven't heard too much of him-- hadn't done a whole bunch of interviews, haven't had a whole bunch of sound bites from him. But his play has spoken for itself on the court. When you mention in the same breath as Oscar Robertson, that's saying something right there. Donovan Mitchell-- no one campaigned harder for him.

- That's right.

- And my campaign wasn't for him to be Rookie of the Year. My campaign was that people would notice--

NICK WRIGHT: Pay attention.

- --notice his overall play. And don't have some west coast bias because he's in Utah or something like that, or don't have some bias that's created by lack of knowledge. He's had an amazing rookie year coming after the second year at Louisville-- great draft pick. Also, the Gordon Hayward, leaving-- oh, they don't miss him as much now, because of Donovan Mitchell. So great things are happening there in Utah. But Philadelphia and Ben Simmons is the true Rookie of the Year.

- And listen, on Donovan Mitchell's side, just quickly here, he is only the ninth rookie in 20 years to average at least 20 points per game. He's only the second rookie in 20 years to do that for a playoff team. The only other guy who had done it in the last 20 years was Carmelo Anthony, who we actually talked about earlier in the show. Like Donovan Mitchell, most years, would be the runaway favorite for Rookie of the Year.

This year's different. Like, most years, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum's the discussion. Ben Simmons-- forget Rookie of the Year. Of course he's gonna win Rookie of the Year. He's gonna show up on some All-NBA ballots. He might be third-team All-NBA this year, as a rookie. That's something LeBron didn't do-- to be an All-NBA guy at your rookie season?

Now, what you're going to find out about Ben Simmons, my good friend Jenna Wolfe--

JENNA WOLFE: Oh, here we go.

- --is Ben Simmons is the type of athlete that I love that tends to maybe rub you slightly the wrong way. Ben Simmons has some opinions now, and he certainly thinks very highly of his own ability. And he should. Like, I have no beef with anything he said. I think he's being honest. But Ben Simmons, the more he talks, the more we're going to see there's a reason he's self-glossed himself with the nickname Young Prince to go with King James.

- I love this quote. Have any other rookies caught your eye? Ben Simmons says, "None." He says, "I want to be where the greats are, so for me I watch the guys like Durant, LeBron, Curry, Russ, guys like that. That's where I want to be. I think for me, that's where I love to watch."

So, yes, of course he has some of that in him. But my question quickly to you before we move on-- how much of his success this year is because he did take a year off? Not intentionally, obviously, but--

- We can't equate it. But being familiar with the NBA, being able to travel with the NBA, seeing NBA practice, being exposed to NBA coaching, the training, being able to take care of his body-- to physically get his body ready for the regiment. Well, now, it's not the coaches just telling you something. You've actually seen it.

JENNA WOLFE: You saw it, yeah.

- You spent a year traveling around. You kind of understand the rigors of the NBA. What are some of the traps that young players get called into? What are some of the cities and certain things you have to watch out for? All that-- all that's invaluable.

It's like someone giving you-- you got a final exam and the teacher tells you, you know something Jenna, I'mma let you take the exam home tonight and let you prepare for it. So, absolutely, your chance of doing-- I mean, he's at a serious advantage on the rest of the field, having the extra year.

- And just look at the development of his upper body muscularly from his one year at LSU to this year playing for Philadelphia. Especially because he's not a shooter, because he scores his baskets in the paint, having that upper body developed over a year where he's a professional athlete has been wildly invaluable to him. So yeah, I think that much like--

CRIS CARTER: A year off didn't help his jump shot though, Jenna.

- It didn't help his jump shot. But Blake Griffin won the Rookie of the Year this way.