Where does Ben Simmons rank among the NBA’s recent rookies of the year?

Tyler Oringer Roar Pro

By Tyler Oringer, Tyler Oringer is a Roar Pro

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34 Have your say

    First off, I am assuming Ben Simmons easily wins the 2018 rookie of the year in the NBA.

    Assume for the sake of this piece that Simmons already has captured the coveted award.

    Simmons tied all-time great Magic Johnson Tuesday with his seventh triple-double of the season, sparking the question: where does Ben Simmons truly rank among the NBA’s past rookie of the year winners?

    As of this writing, Simmons averages 16.2 points per game, 7.7 rebounds per game and 7.6 assists per game, but the numbers do not tell the whole story. The Philidelphia 76ers have been a different team this season with the Australian 21-year-old running the offence.

    For the first time in what feels like ages, their record is quite respectable at 36-30 and are poised to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-2012 season.

    The LSU product possesses an almost never-before-seen game. Coach Brett Brown has employed Simmons as the point guard of a team that ranks 10th in points per game, 11th in field goal percentage, and first in rebounds per game.

    In addition to the offence, the Sixers stand at fifth in the league in defensive rating.

    Even more impressive is Simmons’ efficiency. The rookie has attempted just ten threes this season, all of which have been half-court heaves or meaningless shots. Almost literally, every single one of Simmons’ shot attempts are in the paint (or right next to it).

    While Simmons cannot shoot three-pointers or free throws to save his life, the Australian point-forward has made up for it in a bevvy of ways.

    Despite his very consistent approach, the lefty is shooting 53.6% from the field. When he is not scoring, he is finding the open man, and when he’s not finding the open man he’s boxing out and running in transition with the NBA’s second-best centre, Joel Embiid.

    From 2000 on, no NBA rookie of the year has finished with a shooting percentage above 53% aside from Karl-Anthony Towns two years ago. In addition to this, no other ROY (not even LeBron James), has averaged at least 16 ppg, 7 rpg, AND 7 apg like Simmons.

    The most important part of this is how good the 76ers are. Barring some miracle, the Sixers will comfortably enter the playoffs. Incredibly, only two rookie of the year winners (Amar’e Stoudamire 2002-2003 and Derrick Rose 2008-2009) have played in the playoffs during their first season.

    Simmons is no LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but one could make the argument that he is doing more for his team than they did in their first season.

    Before you get angry at me, I must acknowledge that of course, Simmons has a better team around him than the aforementioned superstars.

    However, he has played as well as people could have hoped – and has quite literally made every single player on his team better throughout the season.

    In addition, and unlike most rookies who thrive offensively, Simmons can also defend. Coach Brown has stated that his positionless powerhouse first-pick can be an ‘elite multi-purpose defensive player’.

    For you advanced stat nuts out there, Simmons ranks 11th in defensive wins shared and averages 1.7 steals per game thanks to his nose for the ball and incredible length.

    If you look down the list of rookie of the year winners since the 2001-2002 season there are some absolute superstars, but expect Simmons to be a top-10 player in the NBA for years and years to come.

    The Australian-born LSU Tiger turned 76er is easily one of the best rookies in recent memory, and probably will be one of the greatest ROYs for many seasons.

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    The Crowd Says (34)

    • March 16th 2018 @ 6:53am
      AR said | March 16th 2018 @ 6:53am | ! Report

      Extraordinary numbers.

      The kid will become (if not already) Australia’s biggest sports star for a decade.

      • Roar Pro

        March 16th 2018 @ 9:05am
        Tyler Oringer said | March 16th 2018 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        Very much agree. He’s already developing into one of the US’s biggest sports stars. Really hoping he stays healthy, he’s too important for the NBA, Australia and Sixers.

        • March 16th 2018 @ 11:04am
          no one in particular said | March 16th 2018 @ 11:04am | ! Report

          ” He’s already developing into one of the US’s biggest sports stars.”

          LOL. Not even close

          • Roar Pro

            March 16th 2018 @ 11:06am
            Tyler Oringer said | March 16th 2018 @ 11:06am | ! Report

            Correction*. Basketball stars, but in the next 2-3 years – it will be sports star.

            • March 16th 2018 @ 1:30pm
              no one in particular said | March 16th 2018 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

              nope, try again

              • Roar Pro

                March 16th 2018 @ 2:46pm
                Tyler Oringer said | March 16th 2018 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

                I don’t know what you define as a star. He will surely be an all-star and eventually All-NBA team talent. He’s only 21-years-old and is a non-American player which adds to his appeal.

                Not to mention, he will likely put up at least 18 8 8 next year while playing solid defence at just age 22. Imagine how much better Simmons will get as he and Embiid start to grow together into their prime.

              • March 16th 2018 @ 6:14pm
                no one in particular said | March 16th 2018 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

                Wouldn’t be in the top 50 recognized NBA players in the US.

                Being a non-American hinders his appeal, not enhance it

                Put it this way, the only way this article exists is because he is Australian. If he wasn’t, he would be a good rookie and get the exposure of that status

              • March 17th 2018 @ 2:03am
                express34texas said | March 17th 2018 @ 2:03am | ! Report

                Particular is mostly right, though exaggerating a little bit. Simmons was probably close to making the AS team as one of the injury replacements in the East, though wouldn’t have been close to making it in the West. He’s looking good so far as a rookie. Will be interesting to see how he does in the playoffs. To say he’s one of the biggest stars would be top 10-15 at worst, and he’s not close to that, yet anyway. And being non-American doesn’t help him either. He’ll have an easier time making the AS team in the East in the future, which could help his status then, even if he isn’t a top 24 player in the league, though I like what I see from him and if he continues to improve, he should eventually become a star.

    • Roar Guru

      March 16th 2018 @ 9:42am
      Rellum said | March 16th 2018 @ 9:42am | ! Report

      I am not convinced that Ben will even become ROY. He should, but his lack of a jumper I think reduces him greatly in the eyes of many in the US. Look how the coaches rated him in the all star ballot( not that that means much)

      I think in the long run it will help him if he doesn’t win. Just that little bit extra motivation to stick it up people and win things.

    • March 16th 2018 @ 10:55am
      astro said | March 16th 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

      Sorry to say, but I think Mitchell wins ROY…just.

      He’s the leading scorer for the Jazz, who have more wins than Philly in the tougher conference, and who look to be finishing the year on a great run (they’re something like 18-2 over their past 20 games, including a big win over the Warriors).

      You talk about Simmons improving the Sixers record, which is true, but the Jazz lost their best player and All-Star in Hayward, and battled injuries to key players all year. Mitchell has been a key player throughout all this…he basically made Rodney Hood expendable.

      Having said that, I think ex-Cavs GM David Griffin said it best: “I think I would go Donovan Mitchell and Ben Simmons as Jason Kidd and Grant Hill once were, co-ROY.”

      • Roar Pro

        March 16th 2018 @ 11:04am
        Tyler Oringer said | March 16th 2018 @ 11:04am | ! Report

        Love Mitchell. However, Simmons’ impact on every other player on his team is almost LeBron-like. Given the fact that Simmons can dominate with such a high FG percentage when everyone knows his move AND assist and rebound the way he does makes him the clear-cut ROY for me.

        • March 16th 2018 @ 3:53pm
          astro said | March 16th 2018 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

          “Clear-cut” is a bit optimistic. Mitchell has been sensational for a rookie.

          Don’t get me wrong, I hope Simmons wins, but I think Mitchell will get a heap of votes, mainly because of Utah’s winning-streak at end to the season.

          Utah are playing some of the best basketball in the league right now, and Mitchell is their top scorer. They just jumped the Spurs to 7th in the West…a pretty amazing feat for a team which started at 19-28. Now, a lot of their recent streak has to do with Gobert coming back, but the narrative around Mitchell and the Jazz is building. If they make the playoffs, he’ll pick up a lot of votes.

          I think it’ll be a really close call…a lot will depend on these final couple of weeks.

        • March 17th 2018 @ 2:09am
          express34texas said | March 17th 2018 @ 2:09am | ! Report

          Actually, most guys who play with James don’t do as well, it’s mostly a myth that they do, so not really a compliment to say Simmons is being James-like. Bosh, Wade, Love, and Crowder are just a few examples. A lot of players have to take backseats when playing with James or don’t further excel overall.

    • March 16th 2018 @ 11:39am
      Devon Ware said | March 16th 2018 @ 11:39am | ! Report

      Simmons is my pick for rookie of the year, but what if he never develops a semblance of a jumper. Can he still be a top 10 player?

      • March 17th 2018 @ 2:12am
        express34texas said | March 17th 2018 @ 2:12am | ! Report

        Bill Russell definitely was without a jumper, so was Shaq and most top centers. Simmons is a big guy at 6-10, and already more versatile than most of them ever were. I’m sure his shot will improve a lot, shooting is the easiest thing to work/improve, too.

        • Roar Guru

          March 17th 2018 @ 4:52pm
          Rellum said | March 17th 2018 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

          There was a video of him casually dropping about 5 threes in a row in practice. You are starting to see a few more jumpers/fade aways from midish range. I have no doubt over the next few seasons that work will come out in the heat of a game, unless he falls of the wagon of course, but it seems like he has the right mindset.

    • March 16th 2018 @ 12:57pm
      RbbAnonymous said | March 16th 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

      I think Donovan Mitchell might pinch the ROTY. I think he has done more than Ben and has had a bigger impact on his team. Both fabulous players, both deserving.

    • March 16th 2018 @ 1:23pm
      Shannon Evans said | March 16th 2018 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

      Simmons will surely win roty, he just posted his 8th triple double, sure he hasn’t developed a shot yet, but look at his numbers with out a shot, when he gets the mid rang jumper the league better look out, he will be a 30, 10 and 10 guy, that sounds scary to me.

      • Roar Pro

        March 16th 2018 @ 2:51pm
        Tyler Oringer said | March 16th 2018 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

        30, 10, and 10 seems like an overstatement. However, 20 10 10 isn’t out of the question by any means. Take a look at Westbrook who got there last year and didn’t even come close to those numbers when he was younger (granted, he was playing with Durant, Ibaka, and Harden in his younger days.)

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