For Utah Jazz, Donovan Mitchell Is Go-To Guy, Even At Crunch Time

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Utah is improving and Donovan Mitchell is a big reason why. 


It didn’t take long for the Utah Jazz to find someone to replace Gordon Hayward. Unexpectedly, though, it came from a rookie–Donovan Mitchell out of Louisville–who was drafted in the first round by the Jazz, the 13th pick overall

Mitchell is having an outstanding rookie year, averaging 18.2 ppg (leading all rookies), 3.2 rpg, and 3.4 apg. He’s +0.9 in Plus/Minus per 100 possessions.

Courtesy: YouTube

Mitchell also broke the Jazz rookie record by scoring 41 points in the December 1st home win against the New Orlean Pelicans. He became the first NBA rookie to score 40 or more points since Blake Griffin did it in 2011.

“It’s a credit to him and to [assistant coach] Johnny Bryant, really,” said Jazz head coach, Quin Snyder. “We’ve seen a lot of carryover from Donovan. He’s trying to do what we want, and what we want are things that are going to make him a more balanced offensive player and a better defensive player.”

Mitchell has been a Jazz starter since the season’s opening tip and he’s currently averaging 30.7 minutes a game. That includes being in games at crunch time and having the green light to take clutch shots at crucial times.

A good example is the clutch play he made recently against the Cavs. Mitchell had the ball with less than a minute to play, penetrated Cleveland’s defense, and scored the go-ahead basket with LeBron as the last-line defender.

“I’ve missed a few shots that I normally make, and, you know, just moving on to the next shot–making the right play at the right time,” Mitchell said in his post-game interview.

But the Jazz may not make the playoffs, even with Mitchell’s stellar play.

As of January 2, Utah is 16-21, 10th in the Western Conference. It’s the outcome of inconsistent play, injuries, and improvements made by Western Conference competitors.

Still, though, the Jazz are improving. Donovan Mitchell is a big reason why.

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Sources: MSN Sport, Basketball-reference.com, NBA.com, The Salt Lake Tribune, The Washington Post

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About Foulette Gunao

NBA fan and sportswriter, I enjoy writing because I can express my opinions and ideas. I’m very passionate about sports, particularly basketball analysis. My favorite teams are the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors, and New York Knicks. My favorite players are Russell Westbrook, Kobe Bryant, DeMar DeRozan and Kristaps Porzingis. TSC is a blessing for me and I’m thankful to be part of the team, I’m able to share my knowledge about sports. It also gives me an opportunity to improve as a writer in the sports industry.



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