There are a number of rookies around the league this year trying to make their presence felt. You’ve got Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma of the Lakers, Ben Simmons of the 76ers (but is he really a rookie? It’s technically his second year), Jayson Tatum of the Celtics, De’Aaron Fox of the Kings; the list goes on. But in Utah, the underestimated rookie Donovan Mitchell is quietly working to prove his worth. The 13th overall 2017 draft pick from Louisville is averaging 11.6 points, 2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game and had himself a night to remember against Lillard and the Trail Blazers. Mitchell scored 28 points, had 6 rebounds, 3 assists and shot 40% from three-point range. Oh, and he did all of this coming off the bench.
Donovan Mitchell came out of Louisville, having played in 65 games (starting in 38) and averaged 11.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists. Though, it was his sophomore year is what got him noticed: averaged 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and shot 80.6% from the free throw line. All of this along with his aggressive playing style, how could anyone pass on this kid? He wasn’t afraid to drive to the rack and finish strong; and on the defensive side of the ball: he had 70 steals his sophomore year. That’s pretty impressive, so you could understand why he wasn’t happy he fell to 13th overall. But he was able to channel his frustrations into the Summer League, where he averaged 24 points (44% shooting), 3.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 3.7 steals in five games. In one of those games, he had 37 points and an impressive 8 steals.*
There has been inconsistencies in his NBA performance so far, but this is to be expected of a rookie who only had one solid season in college. This kid is out to prove himself, and with time he will continue to improve. The Jazz face Toronto tonight at 9. Don’t sleep on Donovan Mitchell.
*Shout out to SB Nation’s Kaleb Searle for these summer league stats. All other information is from ESPN/ FOX
Congratulations to the World Series Champions of 2017: the Houston Astros. After winning the ALDS 3-1 against the Red Sox, this team fought hard to beat the Yankees in the ALCS. It took seven games but they got it done, and it brought them to their first World series since 2005. They were able to out-play the Dodgers, and won the explosive series in seven games. This young team, with the guidance of seasoned veterans like McCann, Beltran and Verlander, ‘earned history’.
The first title in franchise history could not have come at a better time for the city of Houston, who was hit by hurricane Harvey in late August. Congrats to the city and the team, especially Gattis who was a janitor 10 years ago. Remember kids, dreams do come true.
The Celtics sit atop the east, with the Magic right behind them (both are 6-2). Meanwhile, LeBron and the Cavs sit at a surprising 3-5, just above Chicago and Atlanta, who both only have one win on the season. I think most of us can admit we didn’t expect any of this to happen, regardless of how early it is in the season.
The Cs may have dropped their first two games against the Cavs and the Bucks, but have since won six straight. They lead the league in total defense with a rating of 95, with four of their starters ranked in the top ten in individual defense. The rookie Jayson Tatum is fitting right in, averaging 14 points and 7 rebounds a game. In his second year, Jaylen Brown is in the race for most improved player, with 15.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Kyrie Irving is also finding his footing, averaging 21.7 points and 5.7 assists. The budding chemistry between Irving and Horford, as well as the rest of the team has been fun to watch so far this season.
The Cavs however, just can’t seem to get it right. After a very busy offseason of trades and transactions, they’re out here losing to teams like the Knicks, Nets, Bulls and Magic (who are actually taking care of business this year). These four teams minus the Magic are garbage, so I am very amused by the fact that they were able to knock off LeBron and his precious Cavs. As his team continues to rack up those losses, he wants everyone to know that there is plenty of blame to go around. Yes, this is a team sport, but how many times have we heard other players shoulder the blame for their teams’ performance? Quite a few, but I don’t ever remember LeBron being one of them; which is interesting considering he pretty much runs the show there in Cleveland. But hey, what do I know? I’m just a fan from a real, live sports city. Either way, I’m not hoping for a recovery anytime soon; just let the Celtics continue to quietly rule the east.