Spotlight | Big Finish Nets Simmons Season's Final Rookie of the Month Honor
During the strongest stretch of sustained regular season success in 76ers history, Ben Simmons took his game to another level, assuming a central role in vaulting the team into the Playoffs for the first time in six years.
The point man’s performance in the final weeks of his debut campaign didn’t go unnoticed, as he was named Thursday the KIA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for March and April. It was the fourth time in five possible opportunities this season that Simmons received the monthly award, helping solidify his bid to join Allen Iverson and Michael Carter-Williams as the only Sixers to earn Rookie of the Year honors.
Over his final 23 appearances of the season, Simmons proved to be a high-impact, dynamic force. He averaged 13.7 points per game on 58.7 percent shooting, while posting 9.3 rebounds, 10.1 assists, and 1.5 steals per game, as well.
Amidst the Sixers’ season-ending, franchise-record setting 16-game winning streak, his numbers were even better. Since the start of the surge on March 15th, the Aussie has accounted for 14.0 points on 59.1 percent shooting, with 9.8 boards, 10.4 dimes, and 1.9 steals.
No statistical discussion of Simmons’ impressive finish to the year would be complete without referencing two other significant categories. His 15 double-doubles between March and April tied for the third-highest total among all NBA players, while his six triple-doubles were the second most overall.
Half of these triple-doubles came in three straight contests, from March 13th through March 16th, against Indiana (10 pts, 13 reb, 10 ast), New York (13 pts, 10 reb, 12 ast), and Charlotte (11 pts, 12 reb, 15 ast), respectively.
Simmons delivered what might have been his top, and easily most important, triple-double of the season in one of the Sixers’ biggest games, an April 6th pairing with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With control of third-place in the Eastern Conference at stake, Simmons showed out, peppering the box score with 27 points, 15 rebounds, and 13 steals. His efforts were vital in a signature victory that further stoked the Sixers’ playoff push.
Appearing in all but one game during the regular season, Simmons averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 8.2 assists, becoming just the second player all-time to hit those marks in his first year playing in the NBA Oscar Robertson was the other, averaging 30.5 / 10.1 / 9.7 splits for the Cincinnati Royals in 1960-1961.
Robertson also now stands as the only player in league history to produce more triple-doubles as a rookie than Simmons, who manufactured 12 this season. Robertson had 26 his first year.
With a historic regular season in the books, Simmons will shift his sights to the Playoffs, which, for the Sixers, start Saturday at 8:00 PM EST against the Miami Heat.