Simmons won the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award for the second consecutive month and the third time this season. In February, he led East rookies in scoring (16.0 ppg) and rebounding (7.3 rpg) and paced all first-year NBA players in assists (7.7 apg). He also tied for the rookie lead in steals (2.00 spg) and ranked third among that group in field goal percentage (55.0). The 6-10 guard/forward from Australia helped the 76ers to an 8-3 record for the month, the second-best mark in the East.
Mitchell earned the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month award for the third month in a row. In February, he averaged a rookie-high 21.4 points to go with 4.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.30 steals in 10 games as Utah went 8-2 with him in the lineup and 9-2 overall. He topped all first-year NBA players with 29 three-pointers made and led West rookies with 29 free throws made.
The 6-3 guard opened the month by scoring 40 points on 14-of-19 shooting from the field (including 7-of-9 from three-point range) in a 129-97 road win over the Phoenix Suns on Feb. 2. With that performance, Mitchell became the first player in Jazz history with multiple 40-point games in his rookie season. He scored at least 24 points in each of his final four games before the All-Star break – all Utah victories.
Here are additional highlights for Simmons and Mitchell in February:
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Feb. 2 vs. Miami: Recorded 20 points, six rebounds and five assists in a 103-97 win over the Heat.
Feb. 6 vs. Washington: Shot 6-of-8 from the field and posted 15 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals in a 115-102 victory against the Wizards.
Feb. 12 vs. New York: Contributed 13 points, six rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks in a 108-92 victory over the Knicks.
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Feb. 11 @ Portland: Scored 27 points and grabbed six rebounds in a 115-96 win over the Trail Blazers.
Feb. 12 vs. San Antonio: Finished with 25 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals in a 101-99 victory over the Spurs.
Feb. 24 vs. Dallas: Made four three-pointers en route to 25 points and added six rebounds and five assists in a 97-90 win against the Mavericks.
Other nominees for the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month were Atlanta’s John Collins, Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Brooklyn’s Jarrett Allen, Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen, Dallas’ Dennis Smith Jr., the Los Angeles Lakers’ Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma, Miami’s Bam Adebayo, Phoenix’s Josh Jackson and Sacramento’s Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Aaron Fox.
Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month
The Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month are part of a series of oncourt performance awards called the “Kia NBA Performance Awards.” The series, currently in its 11th season, is part of a multiyear marketing partnership between Kia Motors America and the NBA, and also includes five of the league’s most prestigious year-end honors: Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award, Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, Kia NBA Sixth Man Award, Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award and Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Kia will donate the 2018 Kia Stinger to each year-end award winner’s charity of choice. The five year-end Kia NBA Performance Awards will be presented following the 2017-18 season. Kia serves as the Official Automotive Partner of the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League. For more information on the “Kia NBA Performance Awards,” visit nba.com/video/kia-performance-awards.