Donovan Mitchell has outscored Ben Simmons in their two sophomore season matchups, by a total of 54 points to 24.
If you scan the box score for points and stop right there, Mitchell is the better player.
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If you look a little further, and if you've watched the Sixers' two wins against the Jazz this season, you'd have a different opinion.
You'd see that Mitchell has needed 55 field goal attempts to get his 54 points against the Sixers, and you'd notice he has three assists in those two games.
You'd realize Simmons has 22 rebounds and 20 assists against the Jazz.
And perhaps you'd have a better understanding after the Sixers' 114-97 over the Jazz (see observations) Thursday night in hostile territory of why, even though he's an ineffective, infrequent jump shooter, Simmons is a superior player to Mitchell.
Simmons posted his fifth triple-double of the season on Thursday and didn't get the friendliest reception from Jazz fans still miffed at his Rookie of the Year win over Mitchell last year.
Mitchell's unsuccessful Rookie of the Year campaign rested on two main points: The bogus notion that Simmons wasn't a rookie because he'd missed the 2016-17 season with a Jones fracture in his right foot, and the belief that Mitchell's scoring should be the deciding factor.
Those arguments didn't sway too many voters when weighed against Simmons' edge on the defensive end, his massive advantages in rebounding and assists, and advanced stats like VORP and PER that further confirmed Simmons was the more valuable player.
Simmons got 90 first-place votes and Mitchell received 11.
"It wasn't a [expletive] race," Simmons told The Salt Lake Tribune's Eric Walden pregame. "You saw the votes, right? … Did you see the votes? So what's the question?"
Simmons, who also called Mitchell "a great player," is correct that there wasn't much of a race. The creative hoodies stirred up some off-court drama, but Simmons was the clear choice.
Mitchell is always going to hear the boos in Philadelphia, and Simmons is never going to be a fan favorite in Utah, but it doesn't sound like Simmons has a career-long, individual feud with Mitchell in mind.
"How do I feel about it? I don't give a [expletive]. Honestly, I don't," Simmons said, per Walden. "I'm not worried about outside noise, I'm not worried about anything in terms of fans, media, you guys asking these questions; [I don't care what anyone says] besides my teammates and my coaches, everyone in this locker room."
Simmons did admit he heard the Jazz crowd on Thursday. He wasn't impressed.
"They had a long time to prepare to have good things to say to me, and they're still stuck on Rookie of the Year stuff," he told reporters postgame. "Same old jokes. … It's kind of disappointing. You have that long to prepare and that's all you have to say. Come on."
Even though he says he doesn't care about the individual matchup against Mitchell, Simmons did take plenty of pleasure in winning in front of a fan base still holding a grudge about the Rookie of the Year "race."
"I love being able to come into an arena and hear boos and chants, and see signs, and then come here and win by 20," he said. "There's nothing better really than that."
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