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Can the Jazz win without Donovan Mitchell?

Mitchell leaves game with hamstring injury, will be re=evaluated today

NBA: Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

As if losing a close game on the road and giving up 50 points to Derrick Rose wasn’t bad enough, Donovan Mitchell left the game during the fourth quarter with an apparent hamstring injury.

He was immediately attended to on the bench, and had his leg wrapped while he sat the rest of the game. It sucks watching a close game without the most entertaining player on the court. I kept imagining in my head alternative endings to that Wolves-Jazz game with Donovan Mitchell on the floor. It’s hard to imagine that there wouldn’t have been a different outcome.

Assuming it is indeed his hamstrings, this isn’t very good news. Hamstrings are the worst. It’s what kept Ricky Rubio off the court during the Houston series last season, after what was the best stretch of basketball he had played during his entire career. Especially for an explosive, athletic player like Donovan Mitchell, these types of injuries can really affect a player for an extended amount of time. Now let’s not start the doomsday talk until he has been re-evaluated and diagnosed, but we will call it how it is: worrisome.

If Mitchell is going to miss some time, how does that affect the Jazz? They immediately lose their top scorer and nearly 23 points of offense. Who in the world do they turn to to score baskets? Or do they just try to make it as miserable as possible for the opposing team and win with 90 points a game? Who steps up in his absence? All these things will need to be taken into consideration if Mitchell is even going to miss one game. Can the Jazz win without him? Probably. They still have one of the league’s best defenses, best coaches, most impactful defender, best three-point shooters, best benches, etc. BUT IT’S DONOVAN MITCHELL, MAN!! I don’t want to even imagine watching the Jazz without Donovan Mitchell. But, if his hamstring is injured and I’m forced to, I can do it. We all can. We will get through this together. Can they win? I think so. Is it going to be pretty? Probably not. We will know for sure pretty soon, as we can expect a diagnosis before the Memphis game tomorrow night.

Despite the loss last night to the Wolves, the Jazz finished a tough road trip 3-1, to put them at 4-3 overall on the season. Obviously it helped that they faced the Rockets without Chris Paul, and the Pelicans without Anthony Davis, but still. The Jazz still have a top ten net rating of 4.6 and have shown signs of being a great basketball team. But what do we really know about this team? They are known across the league for their defense, but they just surrendered 128 points to the Timberwolves who were without their leading scorer Jimmy Butler and starting point guard Jeff Teague. They allowed Derrick Rose to drop 50 points. The true identity of this Jazz team is TBD. I think they will identify themselves, good or bad, over the next two weeks.

Rudy Gobert is on some type of tear lately. He posted his third-straight 20-point double-double last night with 22 points and 13 rebounds on 9-12 shooting. Here’s his box score for the last three games:

10/30 @ MIN: 22 points (9-12 FG), 13 reb, 3 blk, +13

10/28 @ DAL: 23 points (9-13 FG), 16 reb, 3 blk,

10/27 @ NOP: 25 points (11-13 FG), 14 reb, 4 blk, +23

The Gobzilla has been unleashed. Gobert is averaging 18 points per game on 75 percent shooting (!!!!!!!!) and has been absolutely bullying people on both sides of the ball. These are All-Star numbers, and if Gobert keeps this up he will find himself getting his first All-Star bid come February.

Remember when the Jazz traded picks with the Nuggets for Trey Lyles and Tyler Lydon? Welp..

It’s still insane to me to think of how this all happened. And not just once, but TWICE with the Denver Nuggets. I’ll never get over it. As long as I live. Where would the Jazz be without their best trade partners? Without Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, and that is absolutely depressing to think about. Shoutout to the Nuggets, you the real MVP.

I mentioned this earlier, but I think we will see the Jazz identify themselves over the next two to three weeks. Not just because this is usually the time when standings start to formulate and sustain, but because they have some tough matchups slated that should test their contention status. Here is their upcoming schedule during that time:

11/2 Memphis

11/3 @ Denver

11/5 Toronto

11/7 Dallas

11/9 Boston

11/12 @ Memphis

11/14 @ Dallas

11/16 @ Philadelphia

11/17 @ Boston

11/19 @ Indiana