Surprise, surprise; the Utah Jazz exercised their team option for the third year of Donovan Mitchell’s rookie contract. It was something that we obviously saw coming, but this simple move brought me great joy yesterday when it was announced, mostly because of Mitchell’s reaction:
This kid doesn’t take anything for granted. He had one of the best rookie seasons in NBA history and is well on his way to becoming a superstar in the highest league of basketball in the world. Someone in his shoes would surely be focusing on their future max contract and what they are going to do with all of their millions and millions of dollars. And Donovan Mitchell might be doing that, but he did not miss the opportunity yesterday to soak in the moment of extending his current contract as an NBA player. He realizes that being an NBA player is a dream come true, and doesn’t take it for granted that he gets to keep getting paid to play this game. It was a pretty cool moment.
This move yesterday was no surprise, as Donovan Mitchell had already established himself as the future of the Utah Jazz. But it made me think of how fortunate the Jazz are to have Mitchell at the helm, guiding the future of this franchise. He’s given every sign that he loves it here in Utah and wants to bring a championship to this city, state and worldwide fanbase. The future is bright, as long as we have Donovan.
Rudy Gobert jumpshot? We’ve seen it before in warm-ups and practice, but will we ever see it in a game? Apparently he’s been working on it.
Just watched Rudy Gobert take elbow jumpers after practice... made 20 of 22.— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) October 10, 2018
20 of 22.. that’s pretty good according to my calculations.
Bleacher Report took a look at each NBA franchises “Undisputed GOAT” players. As you can imagine, trying to decide between Stockton and Malone wasn’t easy. Here’s what they said:
Separating Karl Malone and John Stockton is a difficult endeavor. The two enjoyed a symbiotic relationship throughout their time with the Utah Jazz; the former wouldn’t have found nearly as much offensive success without the setup feeds from his point guard, and the latter wouldn’t have become such a legendary floor general without the finishes of his big man. (Head coach Jerry Sloan also deserves a lot of credit for the innovations that helped popularize the pick-and-roll sets in which this duo dominated.)
To be clear, they’d still have been great as solo stars. But their legacies are, in part, dependent on what they did together.
Malone was still better, though. In fact, he’s better by a substantial margin, despite the complexity that stems from severing the partnership. And no disrespect meant to Adrian Dantley, Jeff Hornacek, Andrei Kirilenko, Deron Williams and other standouts in Salt Lake City history, but winning that two-man competition means emerging victoriously from the overall franchise war.
According to value over replacement player, Malone is in the lead by enough that his individual mark (101.0) almost tops the combined efforts of the next two men on the leaderboard: Stockton (65.9) and Kirilenko (38.9). That’s only one metric, but it’s telling.
From an objective standpoint, Malone probably belongs in our runaway section. But it’s out of respect to the partnership that we’re allowing this to remain a heavily contested fight.
Among Jazz fans, it’s probably safe to say that is is a tie for the GOAT Jazz man. But Karl does probably sneak ahead considering his accolades as MVP, and scoring the second-most points of all time behind KAJ.
As a part of The Ringer’s “Best Case, Worst Case” series looking at every NBA team, Jonathan Tjarks analyzed the case with the Utah Jazz this season. Here is the summary for both the best and worst case.
Worst Case: Gobert has no answers for small-ball lineups in the playoffs, and the Jazz once again collapse against elite competition.
There’s more to read in between these statements, and it heavily focuses on Rudy Gobert and how far he can truly carry the Jazz as a defensive anchor in this age of the NBA.
These words on the Jazz are pretty amazing, considering everything.
This SI anonymous scout report on the Jazz is *kisses fingers* pic.twitter.com/hS4g6Bzqhj— Rich Homie Quin Snyder (@Johnny_UT) October 10, 2018
My favorite part: “The Jazz would never trade Mitchell to get Hayward back in a million years”. It’s insane to think that Hayward was replaced by a rookie, let alone a guy selected with the 13th pick. Dennis Lindsey, you are amazing. Donovan Mitchell, thank you.