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Donovan Mitchell should be in the MVP conversation

And it’s a joke that he’s not

Donovan Mitchell is in the middle of the best season of his young career. Fresh off another All Star bid with the best record in the NBA, you’d think he would be getting MVP chatter. Generally the most explosive player on the NBA’s best team is right in the mix for MVP. Let’s check in on the NBA’s MVP Ladder:

  1. Nikola Jokic
  2. Giannis Antetokounmpo
  3. Damian Lillard
  4. LeBron James
  5. Joel Embiid
  6. James Harden
  7. Luka Doncic
  8. Kawhi Leonard
  9. Chris Paul
  10. Stephen Curry

Would you look at that. The team with the best record, the team with 27 double digit wins, the team with nearly a +10 point differential isn’t even represented on the MVP ladder. Each team in the top 3 of the Eastern Conference and each team in the top 7 of the Western Conference have someone in the MVP discussion.

Except the Jazz.

Honestly, Rudy Gobert is more important to the Jazz winning. I believe he is the team MVP. However, I know he has no shot at MVP because he doesn’t score enough pointssssss. I recognize that the NBA doesn’t fully appreciate Gobert’s insane influence on the court night in and night out. I can get over that.

But if you aren’t going to include Gobert, then you better include Mitchell! SOMEONE has to be getting credit for the fact that the Jazz have a 3.5 game lead in the extremely difficult Western Conference.

Let’s take a look at the list of players averaging at least 25.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game this year:

  1. Stephen Curry
  2. Luka Doncic
  3. Giannis Antetokounmpo
  4. Kyrie Irving
  5. Nikola Jokic
  6. James Harden
  7. Donovan Mitchell

Kyrie and Donovan are the only ones not on the MVP short-list. But Kyrie has missed some time this year and Harden is on the list, so that makes sense. Which leaves Donovan Mitchell as the only name on that list that you can’t justify keeping off.

And yet he’s off of it.

I mean, just look at what he’s doing in March! 28.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists hitting 43% of his 3’s! Oh and the Jazz are on yet another 6+ game winning streak, longest in the NBA. Again.

Am I surprised by Mitchell being left off? Honestly I actually am a little surprised at this point. But I guess I shouldn’t be. For example, check out a report that came out yesterday about what it’s like being a small market team:

Ultimately, the Jazz likely come away with several pieces of offseason hardware this season. Jordan Clarkson is the runaway favorite to win 6th Man of the Year. Rudy Gobert is the no-brainer choice for Defensive Player of the Year. And Quin Snyder winning Coach of the Year seems pretty likely as well. Which means the only thing the Jazz wouldn’t be taking home is MVP (as well as Most Improved Player and Rooke of the Year).

Can you actually imagine the Utah Jazz taking home 4 of those awards in the same season? Yeah, me neither. But can you imagine if it was James Harden, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, or any other household name putting up Mitchell’s numbers? Well, yes you can, because they are. And they are in the MVP conversation. Can you imagine if the Jazz switched jerseys to say New York or Los Angeles? Would the outcome be different? Of course it would.

But they say Utah. So they’ll continue being overlooked, underappreciated, and disrespected.

But you know what, that’s ok. Hopefully that provides more fuel for the fire come playoff time. Hopefully this is the year the Jazz prove they belong in all the conversations. From MVP considerations to NBA Championship contenders.