After sitting out for over a month with an ankle injury, there was a little bit of speculation as to how Donovan Mitchell would play in his first games back in the NBA Playoffs. After four games of Spida Man Mitchell, there is little doubt, if any, as to what we’re going to see from Donovan Mitchell in this year’s playoffs.
As we all know, Mitchell was forced to sit out in game 1 against the Grizzlies, after being a late scratch per the Jazz training staff, causing a bit of a ruckus. Game 1 turned out to be torture for Mitchell, watching the Grizzlies torch his team on their floor while he stood helplessly on the sidelines. Watching Mitchell’s body language on the sidelines in game 1, you could just tell this dude had a different energy in him. Sitting out didn’t stop him from talking smack with Dillon Brooks who there was already history with. Mitchell remained active and animated on the sidelines the entire game, and you could tell it was just killing him not being in there. The smack talk with Brooks turned sour after Brooks dropped 31 points and escaped Vivint Arena with a win, going up 1-0 on the series. A little bit of panic settled in among Jazz Nation that night, but fortunately for them, Donovan Mitchell wasn’t going to let that happen again.
Mitchell was given the green light to play in game two, and he came out roaring. From the opening tip, Mitchell was on a mission, and he went right at Brooks, getting him in foul trouble early.
"I'm on his ass!"— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 27, 2021
Donovan Mitchell barking at Dillon Brooks after getting the four-point play pic.twitter.com/BnGFN2oy7j
Even on a minutes restriction, he dropped 25 points in 25 minutes and was a critical piece in the Jazz securing game two. His energy and leadership just made the Jazz a completely different team from game one, and with that, they were just too much to handle.
Games 3 through 5 were different games, but same story for Donovan Mitchell. Scoring with ease, getting to the free-throw line, and bullying Dillon Brooks were much of what Mitchell made constants over a four-game stretch, ultimately beating the Grizzlies 4-1 in a “gentleman’s sweep”.
"Get the f--k outta here."— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 3, 2021
Spida had to let Dillon Brooks know after this three pic.twitter.com/fyHhwUGFKh
Spida dropped 25,29,30,30 in his four games this series, including 8 assists in game four, and 10 assists 6 rebounds in game five. This series upped his career playoff scoring average to nearly 28 points per game, putting him in the same realm as some current legends and future hall of famers.
Highest PPG in the playoffs by an active player (min 25 games):— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 1, 2021
29.2 — Kevin Durant
28.7 — LeBron James
28.1 — Anthony Davis
27.4 — Donovan Mitchell pic.twitter.com/4a7jwilu2f
Performing like this in the playoff is something that will catch the eye of the national media, and that’s exactly what has happened the last few days. It even has Stephen A. Smith confirming what we all know, Donovan Mitchell is Dwyane Wade 2.0.
After this series, and assuming his trajectory throughout the rest of these playoffs, it’s time we all start referring to Mitchell for what he really is, an NBA superstar. Watching him in last night’s elimination game, it just “donned” on me (pun-intended), that what we are currently watching as Jazz fans is truly incredible. We’ve known for years that Donovan Mitchell is by far the biggest personality both on and off the court that Utah has ever had come through it’s franchise. What he just did in an NBA playoff series, and the way that he did it, is special. He’s just so good, and sometimes it still takes me a little bit by surprise. He has elevated his play once again, and if it keeps going like this, the sky could be the limit.
Donovan Mitchell will be the first to tell you that no one is satisfied. They were favorites in this series, and they will most likely be favorites next round too. The goal is a championship. They know that. We know that. We’ve seen what this team can do, and that goal is not too far out of reach, especially with Mitchell playing like how he is right now.