Josh Jackson doesn't believe Ben Simmons should qualify for Rookie of the Year award

Ben Simmons is among the three finalists in the running for the Rookie of the Year honour at tonight’s NBA Awards.

He’ll be competing for the prize with the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics.

Two-horse race

For much of the year, it’s been seen as a two-way battle between Simmons and Mitchell with many across the NBA providing their opinions on who should be the winner in one of the most discussed topics.

Despite being drafted in 2016, the 76ers star didn’t play a single game in his first year and this season was classed as his rookie campaign.

It’s fair to say a number of people have taken exception to this and believe he shouldn’t be eligible to receive the award as he was technically an NBA player for a year.

We can now add Phoenix Suns youngster Josh Jackson to the list of people of this opinion.

The 20-year-old doesn’t believe the Aussie should qualify as a “true” rookie and be eligible to win ROY.

“I don’t really think so,” Jackson said, during an appearance on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.

“Sitting out and then playing the next year, I think that does absolutely give you an advantage.”

This has been an ongoing debate throughout the season as there have been conflicting views about it from players, media and fans.

Jackson’s comments, therefore, don’t come as a huge surprise.

One step ahead

Simmons had the luxury of getting acclimated to the NBA environment sooner than Mitchell did and definitely had some sort of advantage in that sense.

But the 21-year-old didn’t seem to care as he publicly declared that he deserves to win it just two months ago.

“Who would I pick? Me, 100 percent,” Simmons told ESPN. “I think I have been playing solid all year. If you look at the numbers, you will see. People who know the game know.”

Mitchell responded to these comments by trolling his rival with a hoodie featuring the dictionary definition of a rookie as he campaigned for the award.

Simmons’ regular season numbers definitely make for good reading as he averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game.

The point guard may have had better all-around stats than the Jazz youngster but he wasn’t better offensively.

Mitchell posted 20.5 points, 3.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game in a hugely impressive campaign for the Salt Lake City franchise.

With both players having brilliant seasons, there may be a case for the league to award co-Rookie of the Year once again depending on the votes.

But this year-long debate will finally come to an end tonight as we wait to discover who the winner will be.

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