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As Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum worked their way through three of the most impressive rookie seasons in recent memory, the debate raged over which of them was the best talent to build around.
That three-horse race was competitive enough. But once De’Aaron Fox helped lift the Sacramento Kings into the playoff chase this season with a remarkable sophomore campaign, a fourth very worthy challenger was thrown into the mix.
As the young stars’ respective sophomore seasons wind down, ESPN asked 18 coaches and executives from across the league the same question: Given the choice, how would you rank Simmons, Mitchell, Tatum and Fox moving forward?
It was a question that sparked lively debates, painful choices and, ultimately, a range of opinions. Here is what we found:
It likely won’t come as a surprise that the results from this survey mirror the 2018 Rookie of the Year results, with Simmons first, followed by Mitchell, Tatum and Fox. The way the votes broke down provides further insight into how each player is viewed by people around the league.
The most divisive player among the four was Simmons. While he