I developed a fondness for Donovan Mitchell when he came out of the draft as the 13th pick. He knew his stock was worth a much higher pick, but he used that frustration to show teams how wrong they were for passing him up. One thing’s for sure: the Jazz are happy and I don’t think they’ll be giving him up any time soon.
Mitchell Proving Them Wrong
When I was writing for Boston Sports Extra a few months back, I wrote an article about Jayson Tatum possibly being up for the award. But he has since hit his rookie wall and is now working his way back to early season form. Donovan Mitchell however, had his struggles early and has since been on fire:
- He averages just about 20 pts, 4 reb, and 4 ast this season
- Shoots 84% FT, 44% FG, 35% 3PT FG
- He’s recorded two 40+ point games
- He led his team on a 10 game winning streak, which included wins against TOR, GS, SA (2x) and NO
- He won the Dunk Contest at All Star Weekend
This kid makes too much of a difference for this Utah team not to take notice. Gobert has been off the court
most of the season dealing with injuries and Rubio has been inconsistent at PG. He does well on assists at roughly 5 per game, but is only averaging 12 pts this season. All I’m saying is it would be hard to compensate for those 20 points that Mitchell provides should he sit out.
Possible Playoff Push?
The Jazz currently sit 10th, just two spots out of the playoff race. The Clippers sit in front of them at 9th and the Nuggets hold the 8th spot. But I think the Jazz may have a shot considering how fast the standings have changed in the West lately. If Denver, OKC and Minnesota can’t hold on down the stretch, the Jazz just may have a chance. Plus, their schedule looks pretty manageable, with a few tough teams throughout—all which they’ve beaten at least once before.
Donovan Mitchell’s ability to carry this team while consistently being a difference-maker speaks to his maturity. For most rookies, it’s hard to come in with that chip on your shoulder, hoping to live up to the expectations others have put in place for you. However, Mitchell’s situation is quite different in that he is the one who set his own expectations. While everyone was focused on Fultz and Ball, he showed them all that hype isn’t everything.
Continue that push for the playoffs Mitchell. Nothing is impossible!