The Rookie of the Year race may seem close to some, but Ben Simmons remains the favorite for the award due to his ability to affect the game in more than one statistical category. The former LSU-product added a third Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award to his resume on Thursday and is showing no signs of slowing down. Meanwhile, over in the Western Conference, fellow Rookie of the Year candidate Donovan Mitchell takes home the honors for the third consecutive month.



Simmons, 21, averaged 16 points, 7.7 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals in 11 games during the month of February. He led all Eastern Conference rookies in scoring and rebounds while his assists per game number was best among all rookies and good seventh overall in the league. Ben's two steals per game ranked sixth best in the NBA during February.

Simmons tallied a rookie-leading four double-doubles in February while also registering the sixth triple-double of his young career. Simmons' double-double (23) and triple-double (6) totals are tops among rookies and his six triple-doubles are good for a third-place tie in the NBA with Nikola Jokic and behind only LeBron James (12) and Russell Westbrook (18).

While many people know Simmons should win the Rookie of the Year award, it's important to mention that whenever asked about it, Ben deflects the accolades and focuses his attention on winning.

“I’m focused on my team making the playoffs,” Simmons said in Los Angeles during All-Star Weekend. “All the other accolades and awards, they’ll come in time if I’m doing my job.”

Simmons and the Sixers embark on a back-to-back beginning tonight at Cleveland before hosting Charlotte on Friday night.



 


Brandon Apter is a contributor to 97.3 ESPN and managing editor at SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @bapter23