Someone needs to do it. The Donovan Mitchell hype train is getting out of control and I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do yet. I think we all need to realize he’s still just a rookie, and that there’s still a lot of things that need to happen between now and him being the superstar we’re all hoping he becomes. Someone needs to bring us back down to earth and talk some sense into us all.
But there’s no way that’s going to be me!
Basketball Insiders (along with just about everyone in the media these days) took at stab at writing about the rookie phenom. They’ve identified him as a core piece for our Utah Jazz. It’s a pretty good piece that talks about just how good he’s been so far this year. But this is what stood out to me the most.
While Mitchell currently ranks among the top rookies in his class, he isn’t thinking about winning Rookie of the Year.
“I don’t, to be honest with you,” Mitchell told Basketball Insiders during a video interview on November 18. “I would say the first two or three games I was kind of thinking about it, to be honest with you. I had the names saved in my background of the guys who were projected to win it, and that was all I would think about.
“First of all, that’s selfish, and that’s not who I am. I want to go out there and be able to help my team impact and win in any way possible. I think, thinking about the Rookie of the Year award leads to more of a self-driven thing and selfish type of thing, so I just want to focus on being able to make the playoffs. That’s the biggest thing. Make the playoffs. Help my team win in any way possible in any way that I can.”
The words “Jazz DNA” are often thrown around this franchise. I’m ok with that, but I think I might prefer “winning DNA”, and Mitchell has it running through his blood.
Oh hey, look, another article about Donovan Mitchell. This one is from Real GM and comes from a different angle. They discussed the effects of the NBA’s Superteam Era, and what happens when a star leaves a team.
In retrospect, the most surprising thing about Kevin Durant signing with the Warriors was that it was surprising at all...
Gordon Hayward ditched an upstart five-seed for the reigning Eastern Conference champs. Really, the only thing that’s keeping all-All-NBA NBA teams from facing each other on Christmas Day is the salary cap...
But a separate, equally wonderful payoff of the Durant-era superteams is cropping up in the fallow ground left by those departed stars, where the next generation of hoops heroes has rushed into the vacant spotlight...
Elsewhere, rookies are impressing around the league. Donovan Mitchell has already parlayed his precocious offensive game into a starting role with the Jazz, Hayward’s old gig.
Donovan Mitchell is doing more than impressing. He’s helping lead a playoff team on a 6 game winning streak that just barely got their All-NBA center back. He hasn’t just played like he’ll be a star, he’s played like a star.
Wow, you all were busy this week! We’ve got 5 Fan Posts to highlight this week, so let’s just get right to it.
KelenMore is back for another State of Utah Address:
If you're like me but have a little more balance in your life, you read everything Zach Lowe publishes and value his opinions. He makes an effort to cover small-market or outside the box teams in his writing, which is unique among national writers. In his article on the Jazz today, he told us a lot we probably already knew, but we wouldn't be on a Jazz blog if we didn't like rehashing the same things right? Here's my Zach Lowe inspired State of the Utah.
jazzexile comes at us with an argument against #Tanknote:
One week and three consecutive victories in a row, and the Jazz look like a brand new team. They're winning, and they're really fun to watch. Now the SLC Dunk "#Tanknote" t-shirts could be headed to the clearance rack, and the Amazing Spida-Man shirts are in demand. Will the Jazz make the playoffs? Maybe not. But things are not as bad as most of us thought.
Fesenko for President decided to think outside the box:
Interestingly, in the aftermath of Hayward's injury, the Celtics appear to have moved on from him without missing a beat...
the Celtics may be inclined to look around and see what they can get in a trade for Hayward, in order to fill more pressing needs for the team...
thatdoolinkid brings us Normal Basketball Ep. 1: Is Donovan Mitchell Improving?
Welcome to Normal Basketball! What do I mean by normal basketball? For those familiar with statistics, I'm referring to the normal distribution which is used everywhere to characterize the nature of the variation of a process. In simpler terms, it is used to describe 1) what something usually is (mean) and 2) how much it changes from time to time (standard deviation).
With that background, let's get get to the question we want to answer:
Is Donovan Mitchell improving through the season? If so, how much?
templeguardtm also had some thoughts to share on some common statistics:
We have entered the age where statistics (performance metrics) inform everything from player management/acquisition to game strategy. That’s a good thing for a nerd like me, but sometimes I think we misinterpret some metrics. Here are some thoughts I had about some of the more common basketball stats. Don’t yell too loud at me, I’m a nice guy.
These are all well worth your time in reading and commenting. Why are you still reading this? Go. Read. Comment.
The Utah Jazz twitter handle put out an awesome throw back thursday tweet recently about John Stockton.
#tbt to November 26, 2000 vs. the Detroit Pistons.— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) November 30, 2017
John Stockton appeared in his 1,271st NBA game, all in a Jazz uniform, passing previous record holder John Havlicek for most career games played for one team.#JazzManForLife @AFCU pic.twitter.com/AHnuU6otmw
If Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert can get even anywhere near that, I think we will all be happy Jazz fans for a very long time.
The Ringer decided to jump into the shoes of a GM and propose some trades around the NBA. They ended up bringing an idea to the table that involved the Jazz.
Blazers get: Alec Burks
Jazz get: Maurice Harkless
Jonathan Tjarks: A good old-fashioned challenge trade for two guys who could use fresh starts. Harkless has been benched in Portland, and he may fall out of the rotation entirely now that Al-Farouq Aminu has returned. Utah has been running a patchwork rotation at the small-ball 4 position with Joe Johnson out, and Harkless is worth a shot as a long-term answer there. Burks has never been able to live up to his potential in Utah, and he’s third in the pecking order at shooting guard behind Donovan Mitchell and Rodney Hood. He could give Portland a legitimate scoring weapon off their bench and remind the rest of the league of what he’s capable of as a sixth man.
This was written on December 1st, and at the time it maybe could have made sense. But in the last 3 games Burks is putting up 26 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. He’s also shooting 40% from 3 this year. With how he is embracing a new playing style and his role as on this team, I’d say he’s already raised his value well above a Mo Harkless.
This is the best stretch of basketball we’ve ever seen from him, and he’s making a huge impact in Utah Jazz wins. Continued contributions from him, coupled with a Derrick Favors resurgence and Donovan Mitchell’s surprise play could lead the Jazz to crash the Western Conference playoffs again in 2018.