If garnering NBA Rookie of the Month honors is an indication of how voting for Rookie of the Year will go, Utah's Donovan Mitchell and Philadelphia's Ben Simmons are indeed the frontrunners for the award.
The pair received the honors for the month of February on Thursday for the Western and Eastern Conferences, respectively. It is the third time each has won it this season, with it being the third straight month for Mitchell (Boston's Jayson Tatum won it for the East in December. Los Angeles forward and former University of Utah star Kyle Kuzma won for the West in November).
In February, Mitchell averaged 21.4 points (tops among all rookies), 4.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 34.6 minutes per game. He had seven games of 20 or more points and on Feb. 2 became the first rookie since Blake Griffin in the 2010-2011 campaign to score 40 twice in a season.
For the year, the Louisville product leads rookies in scoring at 19.6 points per game and is also averaging 3.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals. His 137 3-pointers is the most by a first-year player through their first 60 games in NBA history.
Mitchell is the second player in franchise history to win Rookie of the Month honors three times in a season, as Trey Burke also did so during the 2013-2014 campaign.
On the season, Simmons is averaging 16.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 1.8 steals per contest.