The only thing left for Ben Simmons to do in his rookie season is pick up the award he’s already earned. But the Philadelphia 76ers forward says there would be extra special meaning to winning the award this year.
Simmons said seeing teammates get snubbed for their own Rookie of the Year honors has given him a bit of extra motivation to win the award in his first season. Last season, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid lost out on ROY honors to Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon.
Embiid publicly stated that he should be Rookie of the Year. When asked about this year’s award, Simmons pointed out that he would be winning it in honor of the young players on the Sixers who missed out on the award.
“I feel like I’d kind of be winning it for Dario and Jo for their year,” Simmons said according to NBC Sports’ Jessica Camerato.
The Sixers have launched their own campaign to make sure Simmons takes the award home, a cool collectible card set that includes a piece of his jersey from a game where he had a triple-double.
Simmons said the play of Embiid and Saric has helped him so much on the court that winning the award would be, in a way, a nice honor for them as well.
“It would just mean a lot,” Simmons said. “Just playing with these guys, I wouldn’t have got to the stage where I would be considered Rookie of the Year if it wasn’t for them. They make it easy for me.”
There is some talk that Utah’s Donovan Mitchell should be MVP this year, but the case for Simmons is much more certain that Embiid’s claim to the crown in a shortened season. The numbers, and the results for the Sixers, make it Simmons’ award to lose. And the young Sixers’ award to collectively celebrate, apparently.