SANTA MONICA – Australian basketball phenom Ben Simmons etched his name into the history books tonight after winning the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award.
Following an incredible rookie season, where the 21-year-old featured in 81 of the Philadelphia 76ers 82 games, Simmons joins some of the true greats of the game, with past winners of the coveted awardincluding Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson and Kevin Durant.
His win marks the second time an Australian-born player has won the award following in the footsteps of Kyrie Irving in 2012.
Fighting off fierce challenges from Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz) and Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), it was the sheer weight of Simmons’ numbers which ensured he walked away a winner. Throughout the course of the regular season, Simmons averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 8.2 assists per game, shooting at 54.5% from the field. His player efficiency rating (PER) of 20.0 was five points higher than the NBA average and he notched an incredible 12 triple-doubles.
In 10 playoff games, where his resurgent 76ers reached the second round for the first time since 2011-12, Simmons averaged 16.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 7.7 assists, shooting at 48.8% and recording yet another triple double, against Miami in late-April.
Speaking on his latest honor, Simmons thanks his family, friends, teammates, and coach.
“Wow. I’d like to thank my family, to start off with. Family, friends, you know I wouldn’t be here without them. My teammates of course, and my great coach. And there city of Philadelphia for really embracing me and my family. So, thank you.”
Other winners on the NBA’s most prestigious night included:
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
James Harden, Houston Rockets
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR
Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers
COACH OF THE YEAR
Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors (now Detroit Pistons)
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz