07 February 2020 04:43
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 22: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz stands for the National Anthem before their game against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 22, 2020 in San Francisco, California. Donovan Mitchell's rise to stardom has taken him from New York, to Louisville, and then all the way to All-Star status in Utah, his journey has been just as fun as the destination. Donovan Mitchell has always been an enigma, both on and off the court if there is anything everyone can agree on, it is the absolutely massive personality the New York native brings to the game. From an electric Sophomore year, where Mitchell was named first-team All-ACC, to a rookie season enshrouded in a beautiful rookie of the year campaign, Donovan has never shied away from the spotlight. Now in his second year in the NBA with the Utah Jazz, about to make his first appearance as an NBA All-Star, his cult-hero status only continues to build in Salt Lake City.
Mitchell has risen to fame arguably quicker than any non-first overall pick in recent memory, going from the 13th pick to now an NBA All-Star. Year three always looked like the year where Mitchell would take the next step into stardom, especially coming on the heels of his national shoe release and the explosion of his "Spida" brand worldwide. Donovan Mitchell came into Louisville as a highly touted four-star recruit out of Brewster Academy in New Milford, CT. His first season with Rick Pitino was one for development certainly, playing just under 20 minutes a game, and averaging extremely pedestrian numbers, (25 percent from three, woof.) However, everyone saw the glimpses and the explosion that came in his sophomore season was one that he himself believed was coming. His outstanding production increase quickly garnered NBA interest, and after an extremely talented Cards team bowed out in the second round of the tournament, Mitchell declared for the draft.
The building of a brand was evident in his second year in the league, as Mitchell teamed up with Adidas to release his first signature shoe, the D.O.N. Issue #1, basing the initial colorways off of some pretty spectacular Spiderman comics. A deserved first all-star game has led to several emotional moments for Donovan, and a real feeling of good times ahead in Utah. With two all-stars and Mike Conley among others on the roster, the Jazz find themselves in a great position this season as the sleeper out West. That is how Mitchell would like it however, a player that has never shied away from the big stage. If you aren't on the Donovan Mitchell train yet it isn't too late to get on it, One of Louisville's finest is just getting started.
It would be easy to point to the stats and imply that the Jazz lost a close game to a tough division rival because of a few missed free throws or poor shot selection by Donovan Mitchell, who made eight of his 24 attempts. Denver's All-Star Nikola Jokic had a very impressive game, making 14 made field goals with Rudy Gobert as his primary defender and a 30-point, 20-rebound triple double. The Jazz have looked nothing like the 19-2 team we saw less than a month ago. Collectively, Mitchell, Gobert and Jazz coach Quin Snyder all seem to agree that there's some component of lacking mental energy or toughness. Once starting guard Mike Conley returned from injury, Snyder has had a challenge he hasn't had before: trying to juggle playing time for too many talented players. Between Bojan Bogdanovic, Conley, Joe Ingles, Mitchell, and now Jordan Clarkson, you have an offensively skilled and diverse lineup, but all work best when they can get their hands on the ball. As an example, Donovan shouldn't be checking into close games with just five minutes left to play. Because the Jazz have Mitchell playing extra minutes to steady the bench unit, they need to buy him a rest in the middle of second and fourth quarters, when the opposing team is usually going back to its star players. Conley led the Jazz in scoring on Wednesday, posted an impressively versatile 21-8-6 line, and is shooting 9-for-15 (60%) from three since being reinserted into the starting unit. But it looks like he's trying to do too much and it's also throwing off his rhythm because he is getting sent out in weird stretches, and it's not really working. Players like Bogdanovic, Conley, and Mitchell aren't touching the ball as often as they need to. The games seem to have 5-8 minutes of really solid, connected play and the Jazz put on a burst of shooting, scoring, and defense. All-Star Captains Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James will draft their teams tomorrow. Where will Utah Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell end up? The Trade Deadline is tomorrow, and All-Star Weekend is fast approaching, which means Utah Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell will soon suit up in the first All-Star Game of their careers. So, will Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell remain on the same team for the All-Star game? Or will they be on opposite teams, like they were over the summer when Gobert and France defeated Mitchell and the USA during FIBA basketball? It's good to see both Gobert and Mitchell get the recognition that they deserve, considering they have led the Jazz (32-17) to their best start in over a decade. While leading the Jazz to said 32-17 start, Gobert has averaged 15.6 points, 14.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. Gobert and Mitchell will finally find out which team they'll suit up for tomorrow, but for right now, how about a little mock draft? As the final moments dwindled in the Utah Jazz's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 4, 2019, Donovan Mitchell dwindled with them, missing 15 of his 25 shot attempts. It's only my third year, so I'm still trying to figure things out as well," Mitchell told reporters after the game, shrugging his shoulders and tilting his head, looking for answers to questions that have perplexed Utah. For two and a half hours, Mitchell escaped into a series of different playlists, forgetting he shot 36 percent from the floor over the course of a five-game road trip with only one win. Donovan Mitchell and Pascal Siakam followed their own paths to the NBA.(Associated Press) Next weekend, Mitchell will join Rudy Gobert at the All-Star Game, marking the first time two Jazz players have made it in the same year since the Vivint Smart Home Arena was called the Delta Center and it belonged to John Stockton and Karl Malone. In 2012, when Mitchell was a high school sophomore, he never envisioned being an NBA All-Star. At the same time, a 17-year-old Pascal Siakam was just starting to play organized ball. Joel Embiid, a Cameroonian like Siakam, started playing when he was fifteen. "Being coordinated, being an athlete, being able to run, being able to move as a big, move my feet, things like that definitely translated to the game," Siakam said. I believe that, like, for real." As of this moment, Siakam is shooting almost six threes per game at a 36.5 percent clip. Mitchell opened the second and third quarters against the Thunder with missed pull-up threes. On the next play, he drilled the staple the Jazz want him to shake: a pull-up two from 18 feet. "Having to fall back on the things that I have had success on, and how much work I've put into that, I think that definitely helps me for understanding that if I do put my reps in, if I do continue to play and work through it, that it will get better." Unlike Mitchell, whose talent demanded playing time, Siakam was once a rim-runner who got sent to the G League to polish his skills. Over the last 15 games, Mitchell is taking 1.4 more pull-ups per game than he averaged in the last two years and only hitting 30 percent of them. "Being able to understand that it may not be great the first month, week, year, you know, season," Mitchell said. "I always felt like I had to put the time in because I started late," he said. Despite the late start, Siakam became the best player in his family.