Donovan Mitchell’s rookie season was one for the books. It was unlike anything we had ever seen before for a Jazz rookie, as numerous franchise rookie records were shattered and Mitchell galloped right into the chambers of every Jazz fan’s heart. He did so many incredible things last season that it’s hard to keep track. As much as everyone loved Spida’s rookie season, it’s behind us, as a part of history. We now have the future to look forward to in Donovan Mitchell. What incredible things are in store this upcoming season? To put good vibes into the universe for an awesome second act, here’s a wishlist for Donovan Mitchell’s sophomore season:
Conference Player of the Month
Mitchell dominated this monthly conference award as a rookie, winning it four out the five months it was given (December-March). It’s obviously a different type of beast to win this award as a non-rookie. Being able to put together a whole month of play as the best player in the Western Conference is no small feat, especially now with LeBron James on the same side of the NBA. Winning one of these awards this season would be huge for Mitchell, and would mean some pretty good basketball would be being played.
Jazz record for threes in a game
He had 7 three-pointers in a single game last season (Jazz rookie record), but needs 9 to break the Jazz franchise record held by Rodney Hood, Jeff Hornacek and Randy Foye. This record really doesn’t seem that far away from Mitchell, given how hot he can get at any given moment on the floor.
Two 40-pieces last season (41 career-high), and there is many more points where that came from. “Spida 50” has a great ring to it. *Files trademark*
Defeat rookies from class (Simmons,Tatum, etc)
Things got a little heated last season during the ROY race between Mitchell and Simmons. Nothing too crazy, but you could definitely tell these two competitors want to be the best in their class. And then with Jayson Tatum’s great performances in the playoffs last season, this trio of rookies* showed they are indeed the future of the NBA. Mitchell will undoubtedly take these matchups very seriously with these two players from his class*, and it’s going to be so much fun to see these three go to battle this season.Wins vs Simmons and Tatum would be huge for Mitchell as he enters his sophomore season.
Defend Dunk Contest throne
Will they invent Spida back to the Dunk Contest to defend this throne? Will he accept? Mitchell admitted in exit interviews last season that he needed to slow things down during the season, and learn how to say no. We are all hoping this “no” doesn’t come in All-Star Weekend, because we love seeing Mitchell dunk so much. But if it means rest and better play for Mitchell, everyone’s in.
Please, please, please let Donovan Mitchell stay healthy. We’ve seen players with his similar play-style go down with injuries and never be the same. Guys like Derrick Rose that were so much fun to watch but just can’t stay healthy. Please stay healthy Donovan, the NBA and world in general needs it so much.
Mitchell had so many great dunks last season. Too many too count actually. Here’s to hoping that none of that slows down. Here’s to many more putbacks, windmills, alley-oops and more.
The next most important step of Mitchell’s game might not actually be his game. Can he continue to develop as leader? He was already showing great leadership signs last season, and all signs show to him becoming a true captain and leader for years to come. This year will be a critical step in his learning process.
Everybody is waiting for the Spida 1s. Once those drop, kids in Utah are going to overtake Foot Lockers across the state to get their own piece of Donovan Mitchell on their feet. But will it happen this year?
To get to the next level as an NBA scorer, Donovan Mitchell is going to have to develop a mid-range game. The majority of his point were scored at the rim or beyond the three-point last season, which isn’t bad, but adding a midrange would help round out his offensive game. He’s apparently been working on that this season, with some recent footage taken and posted by his trainer.
During last year’s breakout rookie season, we saw Mitchell gain the respect and friendship of many NBA stars, as well as spending time working out several this summer. Mitchell’s gravity as an NBA player might just be his most interesting characteristic. If he can persuade a fellow NBA star to join him in Utah it would be a huge step for the Jazz organization and Mitchell himself.
Appearances on TV outside of basketball
Mitchell showed up on the television a few times outside of basketball last season, including a stint on SC with SVP, First Take, and more. It would be awesome to see an increased amount of exposure bringing more publicity to himself and the Jazz. There is no such thing as “too much” exposure, especially playing for a team like the Jazz. What’s the next step for Donovan’s TV game? Ellen? MTV? Nickelodean?
He is yet to record a triple-double in his NBA career, but Mitchell came close last season on April 8th vs the LA Lakers (28-9-8). He showed his passing and rebounding ability in several games last season, and a triple-dub is definitely not out of reach. It would not be surprising to see Mitchell notch two or three triple-doubles this year.
It would be awesome to see Mitchell really develop into a lock-down defender. He has the physical tools to become such, but last season his offense was relied upon so heavily that sometimes defense fell to the side. Mitchell getting named to an All-Defense team would be an incredible accomplishment, especially if it were next to the Defensive Player of the Year in Rudy Gobert.
Sponsorships and Endorsements galore
Everyone should want to see Mitchell get paid. Not only by the Jazz, but through other endorsements and sponsorships. Adidas seems heavily invested in Mitchell, but it would be great to get some diversity in his endorsements and pick up a few more brands. What Utah local brands might advertise with Donovan Mitchell? It would be fun to see him get more local publicity besides his car dealership posts on Instagram.
The next step in Donovan Mitchell’s quest in NBA stardom is being named an All-Star. Being in the Western Conference makes this incredibly tough, but it’s possible. He is going to be battling with other guards like Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson, and Jimmy Butler for spots in the All-Star game, which is some stiff competition. Getting an All-Star nod would be huge, and would be so exciting the Jazz franchise and its fans.
Western Conference Finals
There are some high expectations for Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz this year. After making it to the conference semi-finals last year in the playoffs, anything less than that will be a disappointment. The Jazz’s ceiling comes with an appearance in the Western Conference Finals, with Mitchell carrying the team on his back much like he did last year.This will be Mitchell’s toughest test for this season, in what became an even tougher conference with the arrival of King James in Los Angeles.
What else do you have on your wishlist for Donovan Mitchell for this upcoming season?