Mitchell shows support for Simmons after Game 2 struggles
NBA.com Global on May 05, 2018 07:33 AM
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 21: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz reacts during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 21, 2018 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Khari Arnold, NBA.com
Donovan Mitchell and Ben Simmons battled for the Kia Rookie of the Year award all season, then traded a few shots toward the end of their campaign when stating their case.
Asked last month which rookies may have impressed him this season, Simmons blatantly said "none." Those four letters were followed up with a six-letter word that even came with a definition stamped on Mitchell's hoodie, suggesting that the 2016 Draft product isn't a real "rookie."
Fast-forward to the second round of the playoffs and here's Mitchell showing support for the Philadelphia 76ers young star, who is coming off a 1-point, five-turnover performance as Simmons' team dropped to 0-2 in their series against the Boston Celtics.
"The biggest thing that people don't understand is that every player has that night," Mitchell said on Friday before Game 3 of the Utah Jazz's tied series against the league's top team. "You look at LeBron [James] against the Mavs in the  Finals, he had eight points [in Game 4]. There was one year I was watching [James] Harden play against the Warriors and he had about 10 turnovers in a playoff game. So it happens to everybody.
"It just so happens that it happened to [Simmons], and I expect him to respond back. He's a good player. Good players respond back, and it's all about the response. It's a testament to his character. But it happens. He can't play great every night. It's not as easy as some people think."
Those words align with what Simmons noted about his own struggles, saying "it happens" and "I'm going to have bad games."
It's just better hearing it come from his rookie counterpart.