Jazz

Player Profile: Donovan Mitchell

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Donovan Mitchell is performing like of the best rookies in the NBA this season. Drafted 13th overall by the Denver Nuggets, later traded to the Utah Jazz, Mitchell has made a significant impact this year on a team fighting for a playoff spot. His claim to fame is that he dropped 41 on the Pelicans a few weeks ago, however, he has shown signs of putting it all together, in ways that involve a lot more than scoring.

Outside Scoring: 13/20

Mitchell is one of the best all-around guards in this rookie class, and his jump shot is part of that. On the season, Mitchell is making 35.7 percent of threes, which is reputable for his first year in the league. At times his jumper is inconsistent, though. Some nights he shoots 1-f-for-7 from three, other times he shoots six of 10. His streakiness and lack of a mid-range game (24% from 10-16 feet) are the reasons he scores so low in the outside scoring department.

Interior Scoring: 17/20

When you’re 6’3″, 215 lbs, and have a 7-foot wingspan, it’s not too hard to figure out ways to score inside. Mitchell is an athletic, but also a physical wing. He can slash inside and also use his muscle down low with big men. He’s a guard, but sometimes he plays with the aggressiveness and physicality of a center.

Passing: 15/20

Mitchell plays very aggressively, and sometimes that can backfire. He is in the top 40 among NBA players in turnovers per game but averages about 3.5 assists per game, which is decent for a combo guard. He has the athleticism to be a playmaker in the league, but not the poise yet. He does make some pretty nice passes when he needs to though, and this video is proof.

Rebounding: 10/20

As mentioned earlier, Mitchell plays with an aggression. Unfortunately, this has yet to apply when it comes to rebounding. Mitchell is better when looking to break out in transition and score in the open court, but he’s not a terrible rebounder, given his physical frame. It’s not uncommon for a guard to grab double-digit rebounds in today’s game, but Mitchell’s career high is seven, so crashing the glass isn’t his specialty.

Defense: 18/20

Back when Mitchell was preparing for the NBA’s Summer League, Mitchell himself said that he was the best wing defender in this draft class, and so far there’s evidence to back up his claim. He’s averaging 1.5 steals a game and has a defensive rating of 106. Defense is hard to measure on stats alone, so here’s a video of him playing defense on Kyrie Irving. In this matchup, Mitchell held Irving to 11-25 from the field and 2-8 from behind the arc in the Jazz’s win over the Celtics on December 15th.

Free Throw Shooting: 19/20

Mitchell is a fantastic free throw shooter, making 85% of shots at the line. However, just like most other parts of his game, however, he can be streaky at times. He went 0-3 in a game once from the line, which doesn’t seem all too bad, but that’s essentially what DeAndre Jordan would shoot from the line.

Future Outlook:

Nearly three months into the season and Donovan Mitchell has turned into a real sleeper of last year’s draft. He has the potential to be a star. He is athletic and physical. He has the tools to be an All-Star in this league. Once he figures out how to be a consistent player, he will be a cornerstone for the Jazz. You would think after the Nuggets traded the draft rights for Rudy Gobert to the Jazz in 2013 that they would have learned their lesson, but they have given the Jazz not one, but now two potential All-Stars. Mitchell will go as far as his jump shot and playmaking will take him because the rest of the tools are already there.

Scores:

Outside Scoring: 13/20

Interior Scoring: 17/20

Passing: 15/20

Rebounding: 10/20

Defense: 18/20

Free Throw: 19/20

Overall Score: 15.3

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