Donovan Mitchell continues to turn heads and make headlines. That Utah Jazz are now sitting on a 9-game win streak, only 1.5 games behind the 8th seed New Orleans Pelicans, and 3.5 games behind the 5th seed Oklahoma City Thunder. DJ from 1280 the Zone tweeted to Jazz fans:
Jazz fans would you rather have the Rookie of the Year or 5th seed in the West? Don't say "both" or "yes". Tweet back at me, best answers with DJ&PK in the morning, 97.5/1280TheZone https://t.co/CzAhALsj3M— David James (@DavidDJJames) February 12, 2018
I think it is safe to say that the following tweet is the best response to DJ’s question:
5th seed https://t.co/CV8TZs1inR— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) February 12, 2018
Donovan “Spida” Mitchell proves time and again that his priorities are straight, and his will to win might actually be comparable to that of Rudy “Eats Freaking With Humans” Gobert. I do not know what kind of magic wand Utah Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder waved to transform this ragtag group of Hayward leftovers into a squad full of heart that is capable of blowing out even the best NBA team, but this Utah Jazz team is one of the most fun in recent history. Damian Lillard—who became fast friends with Donovan early in the season—had more to say about the rookie after last night’s game.
‘@Dame_Lillard on Utah G Donovan Mitchell: “He should be Rookie of the Year for sure. Not just because of his numbers but his impact on their team. He’s leading them. He’s able to get to the rim. He’s shooting the ball with ease. He’s a really good player, not just for a rookie."— kerry eggers (@kerryeggers) February 12, 2018
For some extra context, the Portland Trailblazers are currently the 6th seed, and had a 9-game home winning streak that was active until last night’s loss against the Utah Jazz. Donovan Mitchell had 27 points on 40% three point shooting, grabbing 6 rebounds (five of which were offensive rebounds), dishing out 2 assists, and got a steal on top of that.
However, with all of this talk about Spida Mitchell, we can’t forget his teammates. Rudy Gobert has been just as important in these wins, returning as the clear-cut anchor of our elite defense. If things continue this way, the Utah Jazz could end the season with legitimate candidates for Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year. Our role players have had large impacts as well. Yesterday, undrafted Royce O’Neale played for the first time in the starting lineup, ending up with 11 rebounds, 6 assists, and a +/- of 28 in 33 minutes. Raul Neto had half of a double-double in just 14 minutes of action. Newly-added Jae Crowder played some significant minutes and punched in a promising 15 points on 42.9% three point shooting, with 5 rebounds and 3 assists in his 28 minutes on the floor. As much as we like to talk about Donovan, his teammates deserve plenty of credit as well.
Speaking of Donovan’s teammates, Joe Ingles has been shooting the lights out over the past nine games.
Joe Ingles during the Jazz's 9-game winning streak: 17 ppg, 60.4 FG%, 59.3 3%, plus-142— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 12, 2018
It seems like Joe is really feeding off of the passing in Quin Snyder’s offense. Speaking of offense, here are some highlights from each of our past nine wins.
The best play from each of the @utahjazz wins during their 9 game winning streak! #TakeNote pic.twitter.com/aLCEFT7Taz— NBA (@NBA) February 12, 2018
Mitchell is predominantly dashing around screens in the PnR as his three-layer offensive arsenal traps defenses in a Russian Roulette-esque quandary as they predict the rookie guard’s next move at their own peril.
What makes Mitchell so difficult to defend in the pick and roll is that he’s got the confidence to shoot from anywhere — even if he’s still working out the kinks in some areas. He can pull up and rise for three; he can take two hard, aggressive dribbles to send the big retreating before canning a midrange jumper; and he can weave his way through defenders all the way to the hoop.
And when defenders cheat, trying to hedge the screen before Mitchell has even used it, he harnesses a savvy crossover or in-and-out dribble and darts the other way for a bucket. Sometimes, the mere threat of a screen is all that’s required for defenders to shadow one half of the floor and allow Mitchell an open lane:
Who were the winners and losers of the trade deadline? Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype.com got 11 players—most of them remaining anonymous—to share their thoughts and responses to this year’s trade season. There was some talk about former Jazz player Rodney Hood.
Western Conference guard (shortly after Cleveland’s flurry of moves): “That was CRAZZZYYY. The Cavs have to be the winner of the trade deadline, I think. Rodney Hood is about to show out.”
Eastern Conference guard: “Rodney Hood is the real dark horse here. I’m curious to see what he’ll do in Cleveland. But I don’t know if the Cavs [improved]. They look the same, just shuffled around. It’s like eating at Texas Roadhouse. Everything tastes the same no matter what you’re eating.”
My favorite part of this story — and by A LOT — is that 10 of 11 players interviewed remained anonymous while only one identified himself: Trevor Booker. https://t.co/vWgyyUhkV1— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) February 11, 2018
According to BetOnline’s odds, Donovan Mitchell has the second-highest chance of winning the dunk contest this year. Granted, I can’t say I have watched a whole lot of Dennis Smith Jr.; however, my objective, unbiased opinion is that Donovan will wipe the floor with anyone and everyone else in the contest if the judges are sufficiently impartial.
Slam dunk contest odds (BetOnline)— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) February 11, 2018
Dennis Smith Jr. +175
Donovan Mitchell +200
Larry nance Jr. +300
Victor Oladipo +450 pic.twitter.com/aArLx6Ikai
Who will win the 2018 NBA Dunk Contest?
This poll is closed
That rookie from Utah