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The Downbeat: Offseason Edition

With no games to talk about, what will we do now?

Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets - Game Five Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

It’s officially the offseason for the Utah Jazz. There’s no games to talk about. No dunks from Donovan Mitchell. No blocks from Rudy Gobert. No witty post game comments from Joe Ingles. It’s a completely different game in the summer. Now the focus turns more towards free agency rumors, awards and recognition, and most recently bizarre GM burner accounts.

The downbeats change a little bit in the summer, but we always bring the heat. Here’s what we’ve got for you today:

Just when you thought all of the hype and recognition surrounding Donovan Mitchell was slowing down, he gets nominated by his peers as the leader of the new generation.

The NBA Players Association nominated Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell as winner of the “Leader of the New School” Award, voted on by his peers as players in the NBA.

The NBPA Also voted Jae Crowder to represent the Jazz for the Backbone Award.

Both are great awards and some awesome recognition for the Jazz men, who very much deserve it.

Don’t look now, but Donovan Mitchell is already hanging out with some 2018 free agents. Mitchell was pictured with free agents Paul George and Julius Randle at a CAA Basketball event yesterday afternoon. A lot has been discussed of Mitchell’s potential ability to bring free agents to Utah, and if nothing else this is an interesting picture at an interesting time of the year. There’s nothing better than NBA free agency chaos, and the rumors are just getting started.

Missing basketball already? Hoops Habit put together a nice list of the top ten moments from the Utah Jazz season, and it’s a great reminder of the incredible run that happened this year.

The list is complete with tweets, highlights, and images from the best moments of the season.

Bleacher Report posted an article outlining a flaw that every top rookie needs to fix this offseason. Donovaon Mitchell was obviously on the list, and the flaw that was outlined was his ability to hit pull-up jumbers more efficiently.

Only James Harden, Damian Lillard, Kemba Walker and Chris Paulattempted more than Donovan Mitchell’s 304 pull-up triples in 2017-18.

A ball-handler’s willingness to fire on the move contorts defenses, forcing them to switch, stay attached as they scramble over a high screen or crowd the offensive player in an isolation situation. Well, at least that’s what happens when defenders are worried about the ball-handler makingthose pull-up threes.

Mitchell struggled in that regard, hitting only 29.3 percent of them. Of the 16 players who took at least 200 pull-up threes, Mitchell converted at a higher rate than Russell Westbrook. And that’s it.

Already a dynamic finisher with an explosive first step, Mitchell is a brutally tough cover. But if he could force defenders to honor him as a shooter from beyond the arc when he has a live dribble, forget it. Nobody in the league will be able to stay in front of him.

Making good use of his offseason time this summer, Ekpe Udoh is on a mission to better the world in any way he can. The Salt Lake Tribune highlighted Udoh’s efforts in his Let’s Get Right campaign, a hydroponic farming company aimed at producing fresh vegetables in his native Oklahoma.

Udoh started working on the venture in 2015, while playing overseas. With the moniker “No Luck. Be Great.” Udoh and his partners have launched the business with the idea of helping inner-city schools, children who are malnourished and people who simply aren’t as fortunate.

Spinach, kale, various greens and pretty much any leafy vegetable are what LGRFarms will offer. Udoh expects the first harvest at the end of June, and plans on every harvest going to the disadvantaged. The message behind it is clear. Udoh wants to promote as much healthy eating as possible to as many people as possible.

“I want it to be in public schools and in the inner-cities and underserved communities,” Udoh said. “We want to offer our produce to restaurant groups. We want to make it accessible and affordable. I know how expensive it can be to shop for food. So, we want to make it cost effective.”

Pretty cool stuff from Ekpe Udoh.