WATCH: Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell hug it out at the NBA Awards Show
After months of intense debates among experts and fans alike, the NBA has finally delivered the answer to the high-octane question of who the best rookie was in the last season. The answer came in the form of Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons, who beat out his closest rival in Utah Jazz scoring dynamo Donovan Mitchell for the recognition.
If Mitchell felt bitter after hearing Simmons’ name get called, the Jazz guard did a fine job of hiding it, as he immediately sprung out of his seat to congratulate Simmons just as the latter was making his way to the stage to accept the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 26, 2018
It was a heartwarming sight indeed. Mitchell and Simmons have had a mild degree of back-and-forth last season over each other’s candidacy for the Rookie of the Year honors. Mitchell felt that Simmons should not be eligible to win the award since technically speaking, he’s not a greenhorn in the NBA anymore, as he was drafted by the Sixers in 2016. However, Simmons had to sit out the entire 2016-17 campaign due to an injury.
Mitchell, meanwhile, turned out to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, steal of last year’s draft, as he immediately capitalized on his opportunity to become Utah’s go-to scorer following the exit of Gordon Hayward from Salt Lake City.
The gesture that the two showed in front of hundreds in attendance during tonight’s NBA Awards definitely shows that there’s no bad blood between the two, but that’s not to say that their meetings in the future are not going to be heated ones.