Many may have missed a much needed bright spot for the Louisville basketball program last evening as former Cardinals Donovan Mitchell and Mangok Mathiang made their NBA debuts.
Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz played host to the NBL’s Sydney Kings while Mangok Mathiang and the Charlotte Hornets took on the new look Boston Celtics.
In a blowout 108-84 win over the Sydney Kings, Donovan Mitchell finished with 11 points on 4/5 shots (2/3 from 3), 3 assists and 1 steal, in 17 minutes of play. Entering the game mid way through the first quarter, it took only about a minute before Mitchell hit the first shot of his career, a pull up three pointer.
Mitchell looked great on both sides of the ball showing his ability to play unselfishly and find the open man, as well as the ability to guard both guard positions.
Mathiang also looked nice in limited playing time during the 82-94 loss to the Boston Celtics. In just 3 minutes of play, Mangok finished with 2 points and 4 rebounds.
Mitchell, who was taken by the Utah Jazz after trading up 8 spots in the 2017 NBA Draft, is expected to play a significant role in his rookie season for the Jazz this season after their former franchise cornerstone Gordon Hayward signed with the Boston Celtics this past offseason. Utah Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder said several times throughout the summer that he believes Mitchell will get time at both guard positions and will be an instant factor on the defensive side of the ball.
Mangok Mathiang went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft, but was invited to play with the Charlotte Hornets summer league team. After averaging 4 points and 5 rebounds in a little over 17 minutes per game, the Hornets signed Mathiang to a Two-Way contract, which is new to the league this season. While Mathiang will be listed on the Hornets official roster, he will spend most of his season with the Greensboro Swarm of the NBA G-League.