Ben Simmons on last season’s Rookie of the Year win: “It wasn’t a f—— race”

Associated Press

Last season’s Rookie of the Year race really became about two men: Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons and Utah’s Donovan Mitchell.

Voters overwhelmingly chose Simmons (90 first place votes to Mitchell’s 11).

Utah fans — who feed off the perceived lack of respect for their franchise — have not let that go, they booed Simmons when he and the Sixers came to Salt Lake City Thursday night. Which is silly, because what exactly did Simmons do except have an amazing rookie season.

Simmons was having none of it. Before the game he told Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune:

“It wasn’t a [expletive] race,” Simmons said. “You saw the votes, right? … Did you see the votes? So what’s the question?”

After the game — where Simmons had a triple-double of 13 points, 14 rebounds, and 12 assists leading the Sixers to an easy 114-97 win — he told Jazz fans that they had motivated him, and their insults were weak.

“I love being able to come into an arena and hear boos and chants, whatever it is, see signs and come in here and win by 20. I mean, there’s nothing better than that.”

A few thoughts for Jazz fans. [To be up front, I was one of the 11 who voted for Mitchell for ROY.]

• There was no bad vote between Simmons and Mitchell, both would have been deserving.

• The NBA rookie voting rules say that players who sat out the first season of their contract due to injury are considered rookies. You don’t have to like it, but those are the rules. Blake Griffin won that way in 2011. We can debate whether the rule is fair (I don’t have a problem with it), but Simmons and voters just followed the rules.

• Why are you booing Simmons again? Because he dared to be good? Come on now.

• Simmons is right in the spirit of his comments, it’s time to move on. There are plenty of other things to freak out about with this Jazz team without pulling the scab off old wounds.