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Richard Jefferson says Ben Simmons is not a true rookie, Donovan Mitchell deserves ROTY

Donovan Mitchell, Ben Simmons

More and more NBA players and coaches are sharing their opinions on the Rookie of the Year Award controversy. The most recent one to comment is veteran Richard Jefferson of the Denver Nuggets.

For Jefferson, Ben Simmons is not a true rookie since despite sitting out during his first year, he still had the opportunity to train and practice with NBA players and staff. He noted that it is not his fault that he’s not a real rookie. RJ still believes that Simmons will be a Hall of Famer at the end of his career.

Given these facts, RJ believes that the award for best rookie should go to Donovan Mitchell, saying that:

“Donovan also lead his team on a 10+ game winning streak [and] average[d] 20+ pts. If you have never done it you don’t know how hard that is for a TRUE ROOKIE. Ben is a future HOF’er and it’s very close but best and most surprising rookie is DONOVAN MITCHELL.. I’ll only concede CO ala JKIDD and GHILL.”

Below is Jefferson’s entire statement, as posted in his Snapchat account, as screen capped by SLAM Magazine:

It seems that Jefferson has a strong case. He explained his points very well, handing out statistics and some analysis to fight for Mitchell’s case. For him, Mitchell has a tougher load to carry than Simmons. And throughout the year, Mitchell carried this load as if he was a veteran.

Yet at the end of the day, it is up to the voters — comprised of sportswriters and broadcasters — to decide on who is deserving of the award. Real rookie or not, by the NBA’s rules, Simmons is qualified. But for now, it’s a game of wait-and-see.