To the surprise of virtually no one Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons was named NBA rookie of the year this week, beating out Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Celtics phenom Jayson Tatum. While the validity of Simmons candidacy was hotly debated throughout the year (Simmons missed all of 2016-2017 with an injury) his performance this season was certainly award worthy, at least in the eyes of the voters. NBA Players? That’s a different story.
Suns forward, BC alum and friend to CLNS Media Jared Dudley appeared with Jeff Goodman on the Good ‘n Plenty Podcast and said he thinks fellow NBA players were pretty divided on who the best rookie was this season, Simmons or Mitchell.
“I think that in the NBA world it was split,” said Dudley. “I think people respect both of them, definitely. I think if you asked most players they would have given it to Mitchell. Maybe 60-40, 55-45 for Mitchell.”
Good N' Plenty Episode 3 w/ @JaredDudley619 & @TheSteinLine— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) June 26, 2018
Dudley on who most NBA players would give the Rookie of the Year and on his most underrated see agent. Stein on LeBron, Sixers GM search and more:
Simmons was basically a nightly triple double this season averaging 15 points and better than 8 rebounds and 8 assists per night. Simmons also had a roster loaded with talent and was arguably his team’s second best player. Mitchell on the other hand single handedly carried the Jazz’s offense all season long in a much tougher Western Conference.
“I just think in the Western Conference you get more respect doing what he did,” Dudley told Goodman. “He was the main focal point scoring every night, having to create. He played against us [Suns] I know we weren’t a good team this year in Phoenix, he played the point guard and got 40 points and ten assists. I think what he does stands out more. Ben Simmons had another guy like [Joel] Embiid, a veteran team. I think no one expected – Gordon Hayward leaving, [Mitchell] having to fill those shoes. I think he gets a little more praise when it comes to the NBA world.”
Tatum also earned a lot of praise for his play this season, especially in the playoffs when he clearly outdueled Simmons in the Celtics 5 game beatdown of the 76ers. Celtics fans made their opinions know as to whether they thought Simmons was a rookie. Jared Dudley thinks they may have had a point.
“I think it’s an advantage [Simmons] seeing, getting a redshirt year,” said Dudley. Going through a weight room, seeing the NBA up-close and front. I think it’s an advantage.”
For the full episode LISTEN HERE.