NBA Awards 2018 | Simmons Wins Rookie of the Year

by Brian Seltzer Reporter

That Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid delivered special, memorable seasons was plain and obvious to see for anyone who watched.

Following Monday's second annual NBA Awards in Santa Monica, one half of the promising, transformative duo will be coming home with some hardware as validation.

On the heels of a debut campaign the likes of which no person in league history has ever had, Ben Simmons was voted by the media as this year's Rookie of the Year, becoming the third 76er to win the prize. Allen Iverson was the first, in 1997, and Michael Carter-Williams the second, in 2014.

Also of note, Simmons is the first Australian to receive the recognition, and third international player of all-time, now joining Pau Gasol and Andrew Wiggins.

Joel Embiid, meanwhile, was in the running for Defensive Player of the Year, but the nod went to Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.

Given the keys to an engine that fueled the Sixers to 52 wins, and a first-round playoff series victory, Simmons was a consistent, dynamic difference-maker, averaging 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 8.2 assists, and 1.7 steals. He only missed one game.

Prior to the point man, no player on record had posted equal or better marks in his first season. Simmons was recognized as Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month four times, earned unanimous All-Rookie First-Team honors, ranked third in the NBA in total assists (661), fifth in total steals (140), and finished 11th in defensive rating (101.4) among players averaging at least 25 minutes in 60 games.

Embiid's evening wasn't without its highlights, though. He was revealed as the cover man for NBA Live 19, and lent a hand presenting former Sixer Dikembe Mutombo with the 2018 Sager Strong Award.

On hand at Barker Hanger Monday to support Simmons and Embiid were Sixers Managing Partner Josh Harris, Brett Brown, musician Meek Mill, and big man Amir Johnson. Simmons had family and friends in attendance, too.

Perhaps even more significant than the outcome of Monday's awards show was that two of the Sixers’ prominent young stars have put themselves in the running for such prestigious considerations.

“For the first time since I’ve been here, we have a clear idea of what we have,” Brown said at the end of the season.

And what the Sixers have are two elite game-changers, capable of continuing to move the franchise forward.

Before Monday's festivities came to an end, the NBA revealed that Amir Johnson, who last season spent the 13th season of his career with the Sixers, was named the recipient of the league's Hustle Award.

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