Donovan Mitchell’s most common player-comparison is Dwyane Wade. I’ve talked about that and compared the two myself both here on the Dunk and over on Basketball Index. The comparison is lofty, but not completely out of this world.
And if the comparison is really going to carry some merit, then Spida is in for a big time season in his 3rd year in the league.
After two successful college basketball seasons at Marquette, Dwyane Wade made the jump to the NBA. He was drafted 5th overall by the Heat, a selection that would pay off many times over. He took the league by storm as a rookie, averaging great numbers but losing out on ROY to one LeBron James.
He built on that and had an even more successful sophomore campaign, earning his first All Star bid and averaging over 24 points per game. It was obvious then that he was going to be a super star for a long time in this league. That earned him a spot on the Team USA roster for the 2004 Olympics. That team was ultimately disappointing, but the experience was clearly valuable for Flash.
Coming back off that summer, he made The Jump. He took his scoring average to elite levels by putting up over 27 points per game, aided by his 10+ free throw attempts per game. He was an absolute monster for years to come. That third year leap is pretty common for NBA guards.
Donovan Mitchell also played college ball for a couple seasons before entering the NBA. He too found himself in the lottery, taken by the Utah Jazz* 13th overall. So far, that looks like it will pay dividends to the Jazz for many, many years. He put up amazing numbers as a rookie and broke franchise records. The ROY award, however, also alluded the young guard.
Was he a one hit wonder? Of course not! Although many (not you) people were writing him off as such after his slow start to his 2nd season. Then he reminded everyone just how incredible he is by going on an absolute tear at the end of the year. He ended up averaging over 25 points per game and helped carry the Jazz to the playoffs despite his young age. He was rewarded with a roster spot on Team USA, which we are joyfully witnessing this summer.
Will the Team USA experience and 2 years NBA experience prepare Donovan for a Wade-like leap in his third year? We can only hope!
Can you imagine how good Donovan will be if he gets his offensive efficiency on par with Wade’s? It honestly won’t take much, particularly because Wade was never a great outside shooter. A couple more trips to the line and a few more made threes and Donovan will be a serious problem for opposing defenses. With a full offseason of health (and strength!) and working out with some of the best in the game, Mitchell is going to come back better than ever.
And I can’t wait to watch it.