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Jayson Tatum makes case to win NBA Rookie of the Year

Alex Reimer
April 11, 2018 - 1:52 pm

Jayson Tatum wants to join the NBA Rookie of the Year debate. Currently, 76ers guard Ben Simmons and Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell are sniping over who should win the award. 

But in an interview with the Globe, Tatum says he’s one of the top rookies in his class. “Talent level, I feel like if I’m not the best, I’m one or two,” he told Gary Washburn. “I think it’s just opportunity, the situation that you’re in, and who’s on your team. I think I’ve done all right.”

Simmons said in an ESPN interview last week he hasn’t noticed any other rookie this season. Mitchell has responded with some subtle digs, such as wearing a sweatshirt with the printed definition of rookie. Simmons was drafted in 2016, but didn’t play due to injury.

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Based on the numbers, Simmons will likely best Mitchell. The 6-foot-10 point guard is nearly averaging a triple-double, posting 15.9 points per game with 8.2 assists and 8.2 rebounds. Mitchell, a dynamic scorer who’s averaging 20.5 points per night, doesn’t have the complete portfolio. His resume is augmented by the Jazz’ surprise No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.

Tatum, 20, falls behind Simmons and Mitchell in nearly every discernible category (13.9 points, 5 rebounds and 4.4 assists). But with Kyrie Irving out, he promises to play a huge role in the playoffs. 

It will offer Tatum a big stage to show the rest of the league how good he can be.