For those of you who didn’t stay up last night, you missed out on what may have been Mitchell’s best performance thus far. Going up against guys like Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle for the Los Angeles Lakers, Donovan Mitchell went for 26 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block and 1 steal in 33 minutes of action off the bench with the Utah Jazz winning 105-99.
Not only did Mitchell lead the Jazz in scoring, he played a key role down the stretch of the game, making several clutch buckets to wrap the game up.
Making the transition from college basketball to the NBA typically can be very challenging for players, even for some of the league’s most promising rookies. But don’t tell that to Mitchell, who through his first 9 NBA games (Summer League + Preseason) is already averaging almost 19 points per contest.
While I am a big Louisville fan, I am almost as big of a fan of the NBA, and through the 15+ years of watching the league I can honestly say I haven’t seen performances like this that all that often. Typically the only rookies who come out and perform at this high of a level this quickly, are guys who have been picked in the top 5 picks of the NBA draft.
Mitchell, who was taken 13th overall by the Utah Jazz was expected to be good, but not this fast.
Mitchell led the Jazz in scoring and assists in the 2017 NBA summer league even with high quality young players featured on that team including Rodney Hood, and Dante Exum, but even after his incredible performances analysts and fans said “pump the brakes” it’s just summer league. But now, five games into the NBA Preseason, Mitchell is showing the Jazz, the NBA and Louisville fans that he is ready to be an impact player right now.
“We’re going to continue to see him have his ups and downs,” Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder said when asked about Mitchell’s performance. “But he’s out there competing. He’s not overthinking, although he’s thoughtful enough to want to make the right play, be disciplined defensively and play within what we’re trying to do as a group.”
Jacob Lane joined The Cardinal Connect in August of 2017 after previously writing for CardinalSports.com on the Rivals Network. Jacob covers anything and everything Louisville Cardinals. Follow him on Twitter @Jacob_Lane08