"I really don't care," the first-year Utah Jazz guard told ESPN's Chris Haynes. "The biggest thing for me is that we're in the fourth seed and fighting for the third seed. If I'm worrying about individual awards, I'm giving up on my teammates and what we're trying to build here. Clearly, I'm not the one losing sleep over this. I don't care."
Simmons recently said that "people who know the game" know he's deserving of the hardware, especially when taking into account his stellar production - 16 points, 8.1 rebounds, 8.2 assists, and 1.7 steals in 33.9 minutes.
"I got concerned at first," added Mitchell, who said he received a number of calls and text messages on Monday filling him in on Simmons' comments. "I thought it was something serious. Then I heard about what he said and I was like, 'Whatever.' That's not my concern."
While he says he doesn't care about the Rookie of the Year race, Mitchell's sweater upon entering the arena for a game against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday paints a different picture. On his sweater, in large white letters, was a definition for the word "rookie" - a subtle shot at Simmons, who sat out his first year in the league due to injury.
Mitchell is the only rookie in the Association averaging 20 or more points per game with 20.5. Simmons, though, leads the way in rebounds, assists, and steals, and his Sixers are heading to the postseason with a stronger regular-season record, albeit in a different conference.