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Was Donovan Mitchell’s early sophomore slump the result of an injured toe?

Spida’s spectacular January is probably due to good health.

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NBA: Denver Nuggets at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps I owe George Hill an apology. Remember how he hurt his toe and sat out for what seemed like forever?

Sure, he didn’t want to stay here, and sure, he probably could have tried a little harder, but still: apparently toe injuries are more serious than they sound. Check this out from Tony Jones:

This Trey Toupee fellow noticed some of the same things I did. Why did Donovan go for so many easy layups when he could have had dunks? Why did he shoot seemingly careless jumpers from distance when he had an open lane to the basket? Was he just a chucker after all, like many of his critics began to suggest? I fully admit, I was one of the first people, if not the first guy, to compare Donovan Mitchell to Monta Ellis—sure he could score, but would it be 22 points on 11-15 shooting, or 30 points on 5-25 shooting? Was he regressing towards the mean?

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

I am more than happy eat crow. Last month, which was his worst month in a long time, he averaged 18.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and a dismal 6.7/17.6 from the floor. In the last ten games, Mitchell is averaging 30.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.6 steals on 10.1/21.7 shooting.

Could it be that Donovan watched himself on film, realized his mistakes, and fixed them? You bet. Even when I was most critical of him, I maintained that he was a smart player and would figure things out. However, it’s reasonable to say that his all-star-level January is a combination of those adjustments and finally getting healthy.

Look out, Western Conference.

He’s back.