76ers' Ben Simmons, Jazz's Donovan Mitchell named Kia Rookies of Month for March, April
NEW YORK — The Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons and the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell today were named the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in March and April.
Simmons won the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award for the third consecutive month and the fourth time this season. In March and April, he helped the 76ers post an NBA-best 20-3 record by averaging 13.7 points (on 58.7 percent shooting from the field) to go with rookie highs of 10.1 assists and 9.3 rebounds in 23 games. Behind Simmons, Philadelphia closed the regular season with a franchise-record 16-game winning streak – the longest winning streak to finish a season in NBA history.
The 6-10 guard/forward from Australia recorded six triple-doubles during the extended month, including a 27-point, 15-rebound, 13-assist performance in a 132-130 home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 6. That victory helped Philadelphia edge Cleveland for the No. 3 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference in the 2018 NBA Playoffs. Simmons and the 76ers will play host to the Miami Heat in Game 1 of a first-round playoff series on Saturday, April 14 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Mitchell earned the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month award for the fourth month in a row. In March and April, the 6-3 guard averaged a rookie-high 22.8 points and added 4.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.52 steals in 21 games as Utah tied for the best record in the Western Conference at 17-4. For the season, Mitchell averaged a team-high 20.5 points, making him the first rookie to lead a team with at least 45 wins in scoring since David Robinson with the San Antonio Spurs in 1989-90.
On April 8, Mitchell scored 28 points, grabbed a career-high-tying nine rebounds and handed out eight assists as Utah clinched a playoff spot with a 112-97 road victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Mitchell and the Jazz (48-34) will visit the Oklahoma City Thunder (48-34) in Game 1 of a first-round playoff series on Sunday, April 15 at 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT.
Here are additional highlights for Simmons and Mitchell in March and April:
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
March 6 @ Charlotte: Scored 16 points (on 8-of-9 shooting from the field) and notched 13 assists and eight rebounds in a 128-114 win over the Hornets.
March 16 vs. Brooklyn: Posted 21 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds and three steals in a 120-116 victory against the Nets.
April 1 @ Charlotte: Equaled a career high with 15 assists to go with 20 points, eight boards, three steals and two blocks in a 119-102 win over the Hornets.
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
March 3 @ Sacramento: Shot 10-of-10 at the free- throw line en route to 27 points and added five assists and five rebounds in a 98-91 win over the Kings.
March 22 @ Dallas: Finished with 26 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in a 119-112 win over the Mavericks.
April 3 vs. L.A. Lakers: Scored 26 points and grabbed six rebounds in a 117-110 victory against the Lakers.
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’ Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, Memphis’ Dillon Brooks, Phoenix’s Josh Jackson and Sacramento’s Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Aaron Fox.