Former Louisville star Donovan Mitchell after winning the NBA dunk contest
Daniel Comer, Special to Courier Journal
In unsurprising news, the NBA named Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell one of three semifinalists for its Rookie of the Year award set to be announced this month.
The other two semifinalists are Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum. The winner will be unveiled during an award show on June 25 at 9 p.m. on TNT.
It was a big rookie season for Mitchell, who was drafted by the Jazz with the 13th overall pick last year after two seasons at Louisville. He averaged 20.5 points, 3.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds a game for a Utah team that reached the Western Conference semifinals.
Mitchell and Simmons, who averaged 15.8 points, 8.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds a game, are widely considered to be the front-runners for the rookie of the year award. Tatum averaged 13.9 points a game for the Celtics.
The NBA Players Association picked Mitchell as its top rookie earlier this month.
Other semifinalists for this year’s awards include former Kentucky player and coach Dwane Casey, who may win Coach of the Year despite being fired after the season by the Toronto Raptors. He recently reached an agreement to coach the Detroit Pistons.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, who played at Kentucky, was named a semifinalist for Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year. Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo and Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon, who both played at Indiana, were named semifinalists for Most Improved Player and Sixth Man awards, respectively.