Donavan Mitchell came onto the NBA scene in a big way. I remember Utah’s game opener last season. At the last second, literally the last second before the opening tipoff, then Jazz guard Rodney Hood decided to extract himself because of flu-like symptoms and coach Q called on Mitchell to replace him. He started in his first game as a rookie. After that tip-off he dazzled us with spin moves, step back jumpers and monster jams during the next 82 games and the postseason, and he won awards like the slam dunk competition over all star weekend, numerous player of the week awards, and was voted onto the all NBA 1st rookie team.
He has endeared himself to his fan base. Earlier this week both he and fellow fan favorite Rudy Gobert each came out with a digital letter to the Utah community:
Mitchell’s rookie year and off court actions have convinced a whole nation of Jazz fans and NBA fans alike to enter into this young man’s very inclusive fan club. He appears at elementary and secondary schools in his community, he engages in conversations with the fans both during games and his time off and he offers friendly high-fives and smiles to players, both teammates and opponents.
We are now finished with week 1 of the NBA 2018-2019 season. He has played like a veteran starter, but not like the offense’s first option, in Utah’s first two games. Between the two games he has averaged 21.5 points so being able to score the ball is a non-issue for the young louisville product. The issue is his efficiency. He hasn’t put up bad percentages in his first week but his average so far isn’t great either. I, and I hope everyone else realizes that this was only the first week and he has only played two games so the sample size is teeny and he has 80 more games to straiten his stats out. This article is merely a reaction to his first two games.
I am also a little concerned with his lack of dribble-driving to the hoop, which was his most prolific skill last season, and his willingness to either pass or go for the quick points and throw up a three-pointer. He is a good shot from deep but if that is all he shoots then naturally his shooting averages will go down like they have this past week.
This coming week Utah has three games. They are hosting Memphis on Monday then they go on the road, first to Houston on Wednesday where they will get their first opportunity to play James Harden and the rest of his Rockets team (minus Chris Paul) then on Saturday they will be in New Orleans to battle Anthony Davis and the Pelicans. I tend to be more of a romantic when it comes to things that I want to happen but are out of my control so that might be unconsciously influencing my predictions for this coming week but I think the Jazz will go 3-o. Memphis will be a grind it out game like they always give their opponent but because of their lack of offensive fire power they won’t last the entire 48 minutes. I also think the Memphis game will be the one that will give Mitchell the final boost of confidence he needs to be that offensive fireball on the court that we expect. Then, with that new found confidence, Mitchell and his team will slip past the Rockets and handily beat New Orleans.
Each week, as the parameters for his averages stat-line grows, hopefully he grows along with it.
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) October 19, 2018