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The Downbeat: Donovan Mitchell Impresses

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If Gordon Hayward won’t return, The Downbeat will.

NBA: Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Downbeat is back in business! After all, The Downbeat isn’t an article, it is a conversation.

So whether you are reading this in the morning, during your lunch break, or in the afternoon, we invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy this edition of The Downbeat.

Everybody’s favorite bit of news this week is the emergence of Donovan Mitchell. He has truly taken the Summer League by storm. Even ESPN.com noticed when Donovan shut down Jason Tatum in the Jazz’ final game of the Salt Lake City Summer League:

Boston Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum was arguably the best player on the floor through the first two days of the Utah Pro Summer League in Salt Lake City. Naturally, Donovan Mitchell wanted to guard him.

Mitchell, the No. 13 overall pick by the Utah Jazz, was matched up against Tatum much of the night Thursday, and Mitchell made him work for every little thing.

Known for his defensive prowess, Mitchell had the crowd screaming during a two-possession stretch where he stripped Tatum of the ball, then caused the former Duke player to fall to the ground with a spin move, then assisting on Julian Wright's dunk.

... Mitchell said, ... "Like I told my mom, the success is great, but at the end of the day this is summer league."

...

Mitchell had eight points, four steals and a dazzling display of defense in a 68-65 Jazz win.

I know I am double dipping the Donovan Mitchell cookie, however Donovan’s fiery beginning to his Utah Jazz career is hard not to write about. Donovan has been the definition of “Jazz DNA” through his first weeks with us. His grit, competitiveness, and fire have been on display and many in the media have taken note. He fits the Jazz like a glove, and seems to have a bright future on our team.

I am sure we will have many more conversations about Donovan, but I wanted to leave you with a couple videos that I feel show who Donovan Mitchell can become for the Utah Jazz.

I am sure we have all heard our fair share of Hayward news, but Tony Jones and Aaron Falk wrote up a fantastic article on the entire off-season process involving Gordon. Reading this has really helped me to simply come to terms with what happened, and move on. Here are a few excerpts:

Dennis Lindsey boarded a plane on the Fourth of July, the future of the franchise hanging in the balance. For five years, the Utah Jazz general manager painstakingly had built a roster he believed could contend with the best in the NBA.

Now he desperately needed the biggest piece to fall into place. But by the time his plane had landed, he had received the disappointing news.

Gordon Hayward was gone.

“This is the first time I've had a significant player leave a program that I was involved with,” Lindsey said a few days later. "If you're in the business long enough, you know that this is possible. With free agency, trades, draft negotiations, dealing with the media, we always do autopsies and see what we can do to do better.”

...

"Gordon's a guy who doesn't really want to be the man,” Brooklyn Nets forward and former Jazzman Trevor Booker told The Tribune. "… I'm not sure he wanted a franchise on his shoulders. Gordon's a great player, and one of the best players in the league. But I wasn't really surprised at his choice. I heard the rumors.”

They continue on to talk about Miami, acquiring Ricky Rubio, among other things. I highly recommend this article for any Jazz fan who is still recovering. It hurts to lose a star player, but there is nothing we can do now but learn from what happened and move on. Our team undeniably got worse, but there is hope on the horizon. The Jazz are not any single player, we are a team. A team, nonetheless, ran by general manager Dennis Lindsey and coach Quin Snyder. We are in good hands.

On a happier note, cancer survivor and Utah Jazz super-fan JP Gibson was in attendance at the Los Vegas Summer League on Sunday. Jody Genessy of the Deseret News had a heartwarming conversation with JP and his family. He recaps JP’s history with the Jazz, and gives an update on his current status.

LAS VEGAS — Of all the guys wearing Utah Jazz jerseys inside Cox Pavilion on Sunday, one has received more positive publicity and supportive fanfare than all of the others combined.

Deservedly so, too.

And this is not a reference to Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood, Alec Burks or Raul Neto, all of whom were present to cheer on teammates during this NBA summer league game.

That honorable distinction belongs to the athlete who's No. 1 — on his jersey and in many hearts.

Legendary Jazz guard JP Gibson.

...

Two-and-half years after his NBA career ceremoniously ended, the spunky blond boy is a success story off the court. This past May, the Gibson family celebrated his two-year anniversary of completing his aggressive cancer treatment.

Jody asks JP how he feels about the Gordon Hayward ordeal, and melts your heart even further with a great small story about Rodney Hood. This kid is a symbol that Jazz basketball can be so much bigger than just a game. It truly is a treat to be involved in the Utah Jazz community. Hopefully, we can all learn from the example of the Jazz and find ways we can give back to our own communities, whether your community is in Salt Lake City, or halfway across the world.

I would like to end this Downbeat with a poll. Hope is on the horizon, but who do you personally have the most hope for, and why?

Poll

Which Utah Jazz player gives you the most hope going forward?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Ricky Rubio
    (112 votes)
  • 8%
    Dante Exum
    (91 votes)
  • 0%
    Raul Neto
    (0 votes)
  • 29%
    Donovan Mitchell
    (322 votes)
  • 3%
    Rodney Hood
    (39 votes)
  • 0%
    Joe Ingles
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    Joe Johnson
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Derrick Favors
    (16 votes)
  • 0%
    Boris Diaw
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Joel Bolomboy
    (2 votes)
  • 45%
    Rudy Gobert
    (498 votes)
  • 0%
    Tony Bradley
    (2 votes)
1095 votes total Vote Now