Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell win February Rookies of the Month
On Thursday afternoon, the NBA announced on Twitter that two rising stars were officially named the Kia Rookies of the Month for February: Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons for the Eastern Conference and Utah Jazz shooting guard Donovan Mitchell for the Western Conference.
— NBA (@NBA) March 1, 2018
In 11 February contests, Simmons’ 16.0 points per game were tops among all rookies in the entire Eastern Conference. Simmons also put up very solid numbers with 55.0 percent shooting from the field, 7.7 assists, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game in about 33.5 minutes of action per contest.
“I’m focused on my team making the playoffs,” Simmons said during 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, via Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News. “All the other accolades and awards, they’ll come in time if I’m doing my job.”
Mitchell, who helped lead the Jazz to 11 straight victories during the span of Jan. 24 to Feb. 14, was a beast during the month of February. The 21-year-old shooting guard out of the University of Louisville led all rookies in scoring during February with 21.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game in roughly 34.6 minutes of action per contest.
“My plan was to make it to the NBA, but not after my second year of college,” Mitchell said, per AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA TODAY Sports. “I thought it would take a lot more time. I thought it would be gradual — it’s been gradual — but everything that’s happening now is happening so fast. It’s so rapid. I wasn’t expecting this to happen, like, right now. Maybe be in the Dunk Contest my third year. Maybe be here in my third year. For all this to happen so fast, it’s been pretty crazy and surreal to me.”
Aside from propelling Utah to a 9-2 record last month, Mitchell also was crowned the 2018 NBA Verizon Slam Dunk Champion at All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.