Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons becomes NBA’s first Australian Rookie of the Year

IN ACTION: Simmons lines up a dunk in the first quarter of Game 5 against the Celtics in the eastern conference semi-finals. Picture: AP
IN ACTION: Simmons lines up a dunk in the first quarter of Game 5 against the Celtics in the eastern conference semi-finals. Picture: AP

BEN Simmons has become the first Australian to claim the NBA’s Rookie of the Year title. 

The 21-year-old Philadelphia 76ers guard, who was raised in the Hunter, beat out Utah Jazz shooting guard Donovan Mitchell and Boston Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum for the honour. 

Kelly Rowland, from left, and DJ Khaled present the rookie of the year award to Ben Simmons, of the Philadelphia 76ers, at the NBA Awards in Santa Monica, California. Picture: AP

Kelly Rowland, from left, and DJ Khaled present the rookie of the year award to Ben Simmons, of the Philadelphia 76ers, at the NBA Awards in Santa Monica, California. Picture: AP

The Australian’s season had made him the hot favourite after he notched 12 triple-doubles, the second highest total for an NBA rookie ever. 

He averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.2 assists and was named rookie of the month in the eastern conference in October/November, January, February and March/April. 

Despite his stellar year Simmons and the 76ers were unable to break into the NBA Finals, falling to Tatum’s Celtics in five games in the east’s semi-finals. 

Simmons’ eligibility for the rookie title had been in question after he was drafted ahead of the 2016/2017 season but did not play due to injury.