Ben Simmons Philadelphia 76ers
Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, pictured at the Wells Fargo Center on Oct. 20, 2017 in Philadelphia, is in a two-player race for the 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year award with Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

When it comes to the individual awards for the 2017-2018 NBA season, Rookie of the Year might be the most difficult winner to predict. It’s a two-man race between two very deserving first-year players.

Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz are the only two logical candidates. No other rookie will receive a first or second-place vote after the season each 21-year-old has put up.

Which way will the voters go? If you ask Simmons, it’s an easy decision.

“Who would I pick? Me, 100 percent," Simmons told ESPN Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Philadelphia.

“I think I have been playing solid all year. If you look at the numbers, you will see. People who know the game know.”

With just three days left in the regular season, Simmons has to be considered the Rookie of the Year favorite. The No.1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft is having a historic season on a team that will enter the playoffs with no fewer than 50 wins.

Simmons has 12 triple-doubles, putting him second all-time for rookies behind only Oscar Robertson. His 8.2 assists per game put him fourth in the league, and he joins LeBron James and Russell Westbrook as one of three players that are averaging at least eight assists and eight rebounds per contest.

Averaging 16 points per game, Simmons has become more of a scorer in the absence of Joel Embiid. With the big man missing all five of Philadelphia’s games in April, the point guard has scored 18.8 points per contest. Simmons has led the 76ers to a 6-0 record without the injured Embiid down the stretch, extending their overall winning streak to 14 games and giving them the East’s No.3 seed with just two games left on the schedule.

Mitchell has helped put Utah in a similar position. The Jazz are the Western Conference’s No.4 seed, and they’ve got their eye on the No.3 Portland Trail Blazers. Utah’s 47 victories have them sitting just a game behind the Blazers, and a meeting in Portland in Wednesday’s regular-season finale could determine their final postseason seeding.

Unlike Simmons, who has been able to defer to Embiid as Philadelphia’s leading scorer, Mitchell is Utah’s No.1 option on offense. His 20.5 points per game lead the team, and he’s raised his game when the Jazz have needed him the most. During the Jazz’s current five-game winning streak, Mitchell is averaging 23.2 points on 50 percent shooting.

In an incredibly tight playoff race, Utah’s recent winning streak could end up being the difference between them missing the postseason and earning home-court advantage in the first round. The teams seeded No.3-No.9 are separated by just three total games in the West standings.

The Jazz were the No.5 seed a year ago and lost Gordon Hayward to free agency in the offseason. Mitchell replaced the All-Star forward as the team’s top scorer, putting them in a position to finish the year with an even better seed.

Mitchell, as well as others around the league, don’t share Simmons’ belief that he’s the clear choice for the award.

Ultimately, Simmons’ superior numbers will likely make him the Rookie of the Year. Mitchell leads all the first-year players in scoring, but that’s his only advantage.

Simmons leads all rookies in assists, rebounds and steals. He’s shooting 54.7 percent from the field, while Mitchell has made 43.8 percent of his shots. Simmons has the better PER, and he plays for the team that will end the season with more wins.

There are still two games left for Mitchell to make his case. The playoffs start Saturday.