When Danny Ainge struck a deal with the Sixers this past offseason, trading the first overall pick for the third pick, Boston Celtics fans were a little apprehensive. The Sixers acquired Markelle Fultz, while the Celtics opted for Jason Tatum.

After 25 games and the Celtics leading the Eastern Conference, it appears the deal is paying off. One of the hot topics of conversations around the league center around who is in the running for NBA’s Rookie of the Year. Both Jayson Tatum and Ben Simmons are at the top of the list.

There are other NBA players, however, who are vying for the top spot including Lonzo Ball of the Lakers, Malik Monk of the Hornets, and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, just to name a few.

As the season progresses, it will be exciting to see which rookie maintains a high level of play.

The case for Tatum: he’s already making Celtics history

Through the first 25 games, Tatum is in the number four spot for most points by a Celtics rookie at 348 points. Tatum has also joined one of the Celtics’ best franchise players, Paul Pierce, in the history books.

Those are not the only stats that has everyone’s attention.

According to Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach, Jayson Tatum is currently the three-point leader shooting 49.3 percent while being on pace to be the first NBA rookie ever to average 15 points and five rebounds while shooting better than 42 percent from deep.

Jayson Tatum continues to mesmerize NBA fans with his veteran-like moves. It’s hard for many to believe Tatum is 19-years-old the way he is able to stay aggressive, create shots for himself, drive to the basket, and lay it up with finesse. "Playing with poise" is a common phrase used by sports commentators to describe the rookie's performance in this early season.

Fellow Celtics teammate Kyrie Irving constantly talks about Tatum and his impact on the team. After a recent December 4 win against the Milwaukee Bucks in which the Celtics won in convincing fashion (111-100), Irving said about Tatum, “I think he’s doing his due diligence in terms of getting the work in every single game, doing what he needs to do, being a professional, learning how to consistently be that, and now it’s...paying dividends.”

Ben Simmons in the lead for Rookie of the Year

According to Bovada, Ben Simmons is the overwhelming favorite to win Rookie of the Year.

The Sixers point guard is currently averaging 18 points, 9.3 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and just under a block per game. Simmons plays a more prominent role in the Sixers’ system, being the primary ball handler with more responsibility within the team’s offense. In a league where stats garner more attention, Simmons’ numbers are currently much better than Tatum’s.

With almost a third of the season already in the books, time will only tell who will take home the coveted ROY award. NBA fans have many more exciting games to watch and rookies to keep track of. Will it be Jayson Tatum, Ben Simmons, or another player who steps up?