After months of semantical arguments about what consititued a true “rookie”, Ben Simmons took home the NBA Rookie of the Year award on Monday evening. He was the clear winner, amassing 90 first place votes, 79 more than Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum finished 3rd.
Simmons is the first Sixers to win the award since Michael Carter-Williams in 2014. Thankfully Simmons hasn’t appeared to have peaked in his first NBA game. He is also the 3rd internationally born player to recieve the award (Pau Gasol and Andrew Wiggins being the other two). On the season he averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 8.2 assists, 1.7 steals, and .9 blocks on 54% shooting. simmons was the engine that drove Philadelphia’s best season in over a decade. He earned first team all rookie honors as well.
Simmons was the only award winner on the Sixers last night, however. Simmons’ teammate, Joel Embiid, finished 2nd in Defensive Player of the Year voting. This time, a player from Utah edged out a Sixer for some hardware; Utah’s Rudy Gobert took home that award. Embiid also revealed that he will be on the cover of NBA Live 19. Head coach Brett Brown finished 4th in Coach of the Year voting.
The award show capped off a hugely successful season for Philadelphia, especially from a league-wide perspective. Ben Simmons took home a major award, Embiid and Robert Covington were named to the All Defense teams, and Brett Brown solidified his resume as a solid NBA coach (although he still needs to win just a few more games to reach a career .500 record). As recognition for their work is now in the past, the Sixers shift their focus towards the offseason. Free Agency begins on July 1st.