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The Downbeat: NBA Rookies Show Respect for Donovan Mitchell

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Donovan Mitchell is a favorite in NBA Rookie Survey votes

2017 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

For a rookie on the Utah Jazz, Donovan Mitchell has received a heavy amount of hype this summer. Mitchell has been interviewed by several national publications and has participated in other NBA events with big-time draft picks.

Most recently, Mitchell received some high praise from his fellow rookies in the NBA’s annual rookie survey.

The NBA released it’s annual rookie survey, and the voting resulted in a high amount of respect and praise for Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell.

Mitchell received the fourth-most votes (tied with Kyle Kuzma and Ben Simmons) for most likely to win the 2017 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year award. His votes added up to 5.7%, behind Dennis Smith Jr. (25.7%,), Lonzo Ball (20%), and Markelle Fultz (17.1%).

He received the most votes (18.9%) for being the biggest steal in the draft, picked at 13 by the Utah Jazz.

Mitchell also was in the top-five for most votes in the ‘most athletic’, and ‘best defender’ survey items.

Donovan Mitchell’s hype train continued to Uproxx.com, where he sat down with Oliver Maroney in an interview discussing his journey to the NBA and his hopeful immediate impact on the Utah Jazz.

Mitchell discussed what drives him to succeed in the NBA, and what has made him into the competitor he is today.

“I don’t want my mom to work again,” Mitchell told DIME. “But competing at the highest level and being the best is why I’m motivated. Whether it’s having the highest vertical jump or having the most assists, I just want to win it all. I just know that this [game] can be taken away so quickly that you have to use every moment you have to your advantage. I think my injury during my sophomore year really made me realize that, put me over the edge and really changed who I am.”

Mitchell also talked about his role as a leader, and how he wants to carry himself as a captain despite being a young rookie in the NBA.

“I’m just looking to get better and improve in every way I can,” Mitchell added regarding his Summer League display. “But, it’s been fun. Being a leader on the court, being a coach on the court. It’s something people told me I couldn’t do and another thing that I want to prove people wrong with.”

After signing his rookie contract, Mitchell explained the first thing that he bought, but not without stating how uncomfortable he felt, not used to spending high amounts of money.

“I bought my first Gucci belt [after I was drafted],” Mitchell said. “I hated every minute of it because I don’t like spending money like that. So spending 300 something dollars on a belt was something I really don’t understand but I bought it and I’m ok with it. Other than that, I bought my mom and my sister a lot of shoes.”

Newly acquired Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio has gone through his own forms of development this off-season, and has made some noticeable changes to his look.

Adding a beard, tattoos, and a man bun is quite a haul for a single off-season and summer. Hate it if you want, but personally I like this version of Rubio as opposed to the “boy band” look he had for the last several years.

Jazz international superstar and future MVP Joe Ingles found himself in yet another national article analyzing his position and how he has found success in the NBA.

Jonathan Tjarks of the Ringer took a long look at the interesting small forward position in the NBA, and used three examples of its versatility and intrigue as a position. Future hall-of-famer and most interesting man in the world Joe Ingles was one of those examples.

Tjarks took a look at how much Ingles meant to the Jazz both on offense and defense, and how he excelled despite lacking certain skill sets.

Ingles was the glue that held everything together. At 6-foot-8 and 226 pounds with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, he has average size for a small forward, but he’s a crafty player who makes up for any lack of foot speed by positioning himself well, anticipating what the offense will do, and using his quick hands to poke the ball away. Ingles averaged 1.2 steals per game last season, although playing with Gobert behind him meant he could get away with gambling more often than he would elsewhere.

While Ingles doesn’t have the physical tools to be an elite individual defender, he has enough size to swing among several positions, which played a big role in Utah’s elite defense. He dominated J.J. Redick in the Jazz’s first-round series win over the Clippers, holding him to 9.1 points per game on 38 percent shooting. Outside of a 26-point performance in Game 5, Redick was never able to get himself free from Ingles, who hounded him all over the court.

Tjarks goes on to say that Joe Ingles was not just good, but hyperefficient in his starting role with the Utah Jazz last season.

Ingles was hyperefficient in a small role last year, with a true shooting percentage (60.4) behind only Gobert’s on the team, so it will be interesting to see how he fares as his usage rate increases. Utah needs him to keep getting better to stay in the playoff hunt in the crowded Western Conference, and he just might be good enough to do it. His success is a testament to how far savvy, skill, and shooting ability can take a player, and NBA teams should be wondering if there are more late bloomers like him overseas.

Jerry Sloan in NBA 2K18? Yes, Jerry Sloan in NBA 2K18! The GOAT himself and legendary head coach Jerry sloan will be available to use in the newest release of the NBA 2K series, as a player on the Chicago Bulls All-Time roster.

Sloan spent 10 seasons as a member of the Chicago bulls from 1966-1976, making two All-Star teams and averaging 18/8/3 in a stellar 1970-71 season. You may still have to adjust your lineup to move Sloan into the starting rotation over some guy named Michael Jordan, though.