Ben Simmons (25) and Donovan Mitchell (45) will be in the 2018 Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars game during All Star Weekend (AP Photos)
The Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons and the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell were named the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in January.
Simmons tied for the lead among Eastern Conference rookies in scoring (17.1 ppg) and led all first-year NBA players in assists (6.7 apg) in January. He also paced East rookies in steals (1.42 spg), ranked second among all rookies in field goal percentage (59.7) and added 5.3 rebounds. The 6-10 guard/forward helped the 76ers post a 7-5 record, including two wins over the San Antonio Spurs and one each against the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors. On Jan. 24, Simmons reached a triple-double early in the third quarter and finished with 19 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists in a 115-101 home win over the Chicago Bulls.
Mitchell won the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month award for the second month in a row. In January, he led all rookies in scoring (22.2 ppg) and steals (1.54 spg) to go with 3.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists. The 6-3 guard scored 20 points or more in eight of 13 games, including two games with at least 30 points. In his final two games of January, Mitchell scored 26 points in a 97-93 victory at the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 26, followed by 20 points, four assists and four steals in a 129-99 home win over the Golden State Warriors. Those two victories gave Utah a 6-7 record for the month.
Simmons and Mitchell will compete in the 2018 Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars on Friday, Feb. 16 at Staples Center in Los Angeles during NBA All-Star 2018 (9 p.m. ET; TNT, ESPN Radio).
Here are additional highlights for Simmons and Mitchell in January:
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Jan. 3 vs. San Antonio: Scored 26 points and added five rebounds, four assists and three steals in a 112-106 victory against the Spurs.
Jan. 20 vs. Milwaukee: Posted 16 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in a 116-94 win over the Bucks.
Jan. 26 @ San Antonio: Shot 10-of-11 from the field en route to 21 points and contributed seven assists and five rebounds in a 97-78 win against the Spurs.
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Jan. 12 @ Charlotte: Scored 35 points and grabbed five rebounds in a 99-88 loss to the Hornets.
Jan. 17 @ Sacramento: Shot 14-of-19 from the field and finished with 34 points in a 120-105 win over the Kings.
Jan. 20 vs. LA Clippers: Recorded 23 points, seven assists and five rebounds in a 125-113 victory over the Clippers.
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 LA Clippers’ Tyrone Wallace, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, Memphis’ Dillon Brooks, Miami’s Bam Adebayo, Phoenix’s Josh Jackson and Sacramento’s Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Aaron Fox.