It's just not fair.

Whenever Ben Simmons starts to look like he's running away with the Rookie of the Year trophy, Donovan Mitchell comes along and scores 24 or more in three straight games. Whenever it looks like Mitchell has finally caught up to Simmons, the Aussie goes out and damn near averages a triple-double for the week.

If there's one absolute truth in the Rookie Rankings, it's that whenever Simmons is No. 1, Mitchell fans get irate, and whenever Mitchell is No. 1, 76ers fans voice their displeasure.

But here's the thing -- they're both right.

For the first time in recent memory, we actually have a tight, relevant race for ROY, and on top of that they're both leading teams that appear destined for the playoffs. It's really a matter of taste when it comes to the pair -- like picking chocolate or vanilla ice cream -- there's no wrong answer. Some are turned off by Simmons' inability to shoot or take the game over with his scoring, but an equal amount scoff at Mitchell's relative inefficiency and ball-dominant nature.

There's only one solution: Co-Rookies of the Year.

It's only happened three times in NBA history, and we haven't seen it since Elton Brand and Steve Francis tied back in 2000. Before that, Jason Kidd and Grant Hill tied in 1995 and Geoff Petrie tied with Dave Cowens in 1971. That's it. But If there were ever a year set up perfectly for another tie, it's this one.

There are enough people who feel strongly one way or another to cause a complete split in the voting. And to be honest, that's probably the best thing that could happen -- neither one of these guys deserves to walk away empty-handed. Mitchell has a slight advantage in the fact that his team is still fighting for a playoff berth, while Simmons and the 76ers are pretty much locked in. A couple big weeks to push his team into the postseason just might be enough for Mitchell to win Rookie of the Year.

To the surprise of no one, they're once again at the top of this week's Rookie Rankings.

This week's NBA Rookie Power Rankings
Ben Simmons Philadelphia 76ers PG

Last week: 1
Stats this week: 12.8 points, 11.5 assists, 9.5 rebounds

Are we sure Ben Simmons is human? Like, really sure? As the doldrums known as the final weeks of the NBA regular season drag on, Simmons is only getting stronger. He nearly averaged a triple-double this week, recording his ninth of the year in spectacular fashion against the Hornets: 11 points, 12 rebounds, 15 assists and zero turnovers. Any rookie would be lucky to have a zero-turnover game, let alone a rookie who handles the ball and orchestrates the offense as much as Simmons. He would have the Rookie of the Year trophy locked up, were it not for that pesky guard out in Salt Lake City.

Last week: 2
Stats this week: 26.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.0 steals

Mitchell didn't exactly face a murderer's row of opponents this week, but we can't fault him for that. He was his normal, brilliant self, but misses out on the top spot this week because of the team's loss to the Hawks (yikes) and his horrific 3-for-24 shooting from 3-point range. Mitchell has been dreadful from beyond the arc over his last 10 games, at 27 percent, but he keeps putting them up at a high volume. Making his 3-pointers obviously opens up the rest of his game and spreads the floor for the Jazz, so they'll need him to start hitting those as the playoffs draw near.
Jayson Tatum Boston Celtics SF

Last week: 4
Stats this week: 18.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals

In any other year, you'd have to imagine that Tatum would at least be a top-two Rookie of the Year candidate, but his consistency has been upstaged by the brilliance of Simmons and Mitchell. Tatum helped keep the Celtics afloat without Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown this week, and his efficiency improved despite the added defensive attention. He played perhaps his best game to date in Tuesday's thrilling comeback win over the Thunder, putting up 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting (3-of-6 3-pointers) to go along with 11 rebounds and four assists. With the Celtics dead in the water in a four-minute scoreless drought, Tatum showed the kind of individual offensive talent that makes Boston fans salivate.
Tatum's just starting to crack the surface of what he can do, so a little time without Kyrie might not be the worst thing for the rookie's development.
Josh Jackson Phoenix Suns SG

Last week: 7
Stats this week: 25.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals

The Suns are still abysmal, but Jackson had his veritable coming-out party with a 36-point explosion against the Warriors on Saturday. His scoring has been inconsistent all season, but Jackson showed against the defending champs (never mind that they were missing three All-Stars) that he has the potential to be a 20-point-per-game guy in the near future. That's the best Phoenix fans can ask for at this point.
Kyle Kuzma Los Angeles Lakers PF

Last week: 3
Stats this week: 17.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals

The Lakers struggled in an 0-3 week, but Kuzma continued to impress. He's scoring and shooting efficiently, and he's become much more consistent with his rebounding numbers, which is a great sign for the Lakers -- coach Luke Walton has emphasized how he wants Kuzma to affect the game in ways besides scoring. He's been doing exactly that, and has effectively bounced back after a midseason slump.
Dennis Smith Jr. Dallas Mavericks PG

Last week: Unranked
Stats this week: 20.0 points, 4.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks

Smith only played in two of the Mavs' four games this week, and he was forced to exit one of his best games of the season (21 points in 23 minutes) after he rolled his ankle against the Nets. Smith has produced all season, but his usage rate is as high as Mitchell's with much lower efficiency. If the Mavs do end up getting a top pick in June's draft, they have to wonder whether Smith will be able to be effective if he's not controlling the ball as much.
Lonzo Ball Los Angeles Lakers PG

Last week: 5
Stats this week: 6.3 points, 8.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds

So, after all the talk that Lonzo's shot was finally starting to come around, he's now made only 14-of-67 field-goal attempts over his last six games, including 6 of 40 from the 3-point line. Yeah, not good. Rookies often struggle to find consistency, but Lonzo is taking things to a new level with his shooting. Luckily for the Lakers, he contributes in many other ways that it's worth having him on the court pretty much all the time. He was only a minus-2.5 for the week in 40 minutes per game despite his horrid shooting, proving how valuable he is.
Frank Mason III Sacramento Kings PG

Last week: Unranked
Stats this week: 10.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.3 steals

Mason appears to finally be healthy after recovering from the plantar fascia injury that cost him 21 games. With De'Aaron Fox struggling, Mason is once again looking like the Kings' most consistent point guard, and Dave Joerger chose to finish Thursday's win over the Hawks with Mason on the floor. The 23-year-old rewarded his coach with 16 points, seven rebounds and a career-high eight assists. Mason was a plus-26.1 for the week, and it's no coincidence that the Kings have played better since he returned to the lineup.
Luke Kennard Detroit Pistons SG

Last week: Unranked
Stats this week: 13.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists

The Pistons' wing situation is not good, but at least they know this: Luke Kennard can shoot. And with a team that struggles to put the ball in the basket, making shots will get you on the court more often than not. He struggled against the Rockets (who doesn't) on Thursday, but he made 7-of-14 shots from beyond the arc in the three previous games. Kennard's made the most of his increased playing time, and should be a staple in the Pistons lineup moving forward as they try to figure out their identity.
Dillon Brooks Memphis Grizzlies SF

Last week: 9
Stats this week: 14.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists

You should almost be disqualified from the Rookie Rankings if your team loses a game by 61 points, but Brooks had a solid week so we'll let that one slide. He's proving he can score and shoot (7-of-17 3-pointers this week, 41 percent), but the next step for Brooks is to improve his playmaking and start setting others up for success -- easier said than done with the talent surrounding him.

Dropped out

On the bubble

Ante Zizic
PF •
Milos Teodosic
PG •