Can you believe it? A regular season that showed off one of the best rookie classes we've seen in a long time has finally come to an end. And while there were plenty of rookies who, in any other year, might be deserving of the top spot -- only one can reign supreme.
Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell were simply transcendent this season, each leading his team to top-five playoff seeds by ripping off impressive winning streaks. They were so outstanding that it was nearly impossible to pick one, but, hey, ties are no fun.
In the end it was Simmons taking the top spot, and we've outlined the reasons below, but it doesn't take anything away from the other rookies on this list. In other years, Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and even Lauri Markkanen could lay claim to the No. 1 spot in the rankings. But, alas, they ran into an 6-foot-10 Australian buzz saw who showed absolutely no mercy.
Here are the final 2017-18 NBA Rookie Power Rankings.
Ben Simmons Philadelphia 76ers PG
Final stats: 15.8 points, 8.2 assists, 8.1 rebounds, 1.7 stealsLet the debate begin -- or, rather, continue ... forever. This has been one of the most contentious Rookie of the Year races of all time, and the arguments will just keep on going with both Simmons and Mitchell in the playoffs. Mitchell was undeniably great this season, but ultimately Simmons proved his ever-so-slight edge in his team's final eight games without Joel Embiid, including a breakout performance in a win over LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
He proved he could carry the Philadelphia offense without Embiid, something he struggled with earlier in the year. Ultimately Simmons' efficiency and defensive presence earned him the top spot, but man was it close.
Donovan Mitchell Utah Jazz SG
Final stats: 20.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.5 stealsSimmons is No. 1, but that doesn't take anything away from Mitchell's outstanding rookie season. He led all rookies in scoring and became the first rookie since Carmelo Anthony in 2003-04 to be the top scorer on a playoff team. The low field goal percentage was offset by a decent true shooting percentage (50.6), and if you watched the games you would realize that the Jazz needed him to take pretty much every shot he did. What Rudy Gobert is to the Jazz defense, Donovan Mitchell is to the Jazz offense -- and without him there's no way Utah makes the run that they did. Not bad for the 13th pick in the draft.
Jayson Tatum Boston Celtics SF
Final stats: 13.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.6 assistsFollowing the opening-night injury to Gordon Hayward, Tatum exceeded all expectations by never missing a beat for a successful Celtics team. His torrid 3-point shooting cooled off as the season went on, but he still ended up slashing 48/43/83 from the field, 3-point line and free throw line -- simply remarkable for a kid who turned 20 this season and played meaningful minutes all year long. With Kyrie Irving out toward the end of the year, Tatum excelled in more of a scoring/playmaking role, proving that he's going to be one of the league's top players very soon.
Kyle Kuzma Los Angeles Lakers PF
Final stats: 16.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.8 assistsThe biggest surprise of this rookie class (Mitchell was surprising, but at least he was on the radar), Kuzma was the Lakers' best rookie this season out of three solid options. He proved he could score right away, but the most encouraging sign for the Lakers was that he evolved his rebounding and playmaking skills as the season went on. He shot 45 percent from the field and 37 percent on 3-pointers, and is single-handedly bringing the sky hook back to Los Angeles. His defense still needs work, but that will come with time and coaching. For now, the Lakers have a long, versatile wing who can start or be a sixth man for years to come.
Lauri Markkanen Chicago Bulls PF
Final stats: 15.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.2 assistsWhen you watch Markkanen play, you can easily forget that he's 7-feet tall -- and that's a compliment. He's so smooth offensively, not just with his jumper, but also with his ability to put the ball on the floor. It was hard to evaluate him this year on a horrendous Bulls team, especially after they went fully into the tank, but we saw enough early on to know that Markkanen is going to be an effective stretch-five. As he puts on weight he'll be more of a disruptor on defense, but his money will be made on the offensive end.
Lonzo Ball Los Angeles Lakers PG
Final stats: 10.2 points, 7.2 assists, 6.9 rebounds, 1.7 stealsBall probably would have been ahead of Markkanen, but injuries limited him to just 52 games this season. Ball had as inconsistent a rookie season as anyone in the league, but his good stretches were really good. He pushed the tempo and played much better defense than most expected for a Lakers team that won a respectable 35 games. The gigantic elephant in the room is his shooting -- 36/31/45 is about as awful as it gets -- but Lonzo believers will point to his hot stretches where he sank 3s consistently and shot with confidence. A surprising late-season development was his ability to knock down pull-up 2-pointers, something that could completely open up his offensive game.
It's still not clear whether he'll be a superstar, but it's obvious that Lonzo will be an NBA starter and help his team for many years to come.
Dennis Smith Jr. Dallas Mavericks PG
Final stats: 15.2 points, 5.2 assists, 3.8 reboundsSmith was wildly inefficient, but at least proved that he can put the ball in the basket and handle big NBA minutes on a surgically repaired knee. He was a close second to Mitchell in usage rate among rookies -- Rick Carlisle took the training wheels off early and let the rookie go nuts. Smith's quickness and explosiveness are second to none -- a quick re-watch of the dunk contest will tell you that -- and it will be fun to see him develop his game over the summer and into next season.
John Collins Atlanta Hawks PF
Final stats: 10.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.1 blocksA pleasant surprise for the dismal Hawks, Collins showed right away that he's a high-efficiency scorer, rebounder and shot blocker. As he got more minutes, Collins further developed his passing ability and slowly stretched his range out to the 3-point line, which takes his ceiling from an energy big off the bench to a potential starting stretch-four or even stretch-five. He's not going to create a lot of offense on his own, but he can catch lobs, spot up and crash the offensive glass while blocking shots on the other end. Overall, the Hawks have to be happy.
Bogdan Bogdanovic Sacramento Kings SG
Final stats: 11.8 points, 3.3 assists, 2.9 reboundsThe Kings have craved a shooter for a long time, and they finally got two legit gunners in Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield. But while Hield was the prize of the DeMarcus Cousins trade, Bogdanovic has shown more versatility. He has picture-perfect form and is nearly as adept at shooting off the dribble as he is in catch-and-shoot situations -- a desirable commodity in the modern NBA. At 25, Bogdanovic is a bit older than the other rookies on this list since he played professionally in Europe before coming over, and his developed skill set served the Kings well. His ability to play both guard spots will keep him in the Kings lineup for a long time, assuming he can become adequate on the defensive end.
Dillon Brooks Memphis Grizzlies SF
Final stats: 11.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 0.9 stealsBrooks thought he was drafted by a fringe playoff contender, but he ended up on the second-worst team in the NBA after the injury to Mike Conley and the fiasco with former coach David Fizdale. As a result Brooks was tasked with much more responsibility, and showed poise that we'd expect from a three-year college player. He stayed within himself on the offensive end, shooting 44 percent from the field and 36 percent on 3-pointers, while drawing difficult perimeter defensive assignments all season long. If Conley and Marc Gasol come back healthy next season, Brooks will be a solid piece to put alongside them.