“This is just the beginning”, says Donovan Mitchell from the podium after getting eliminated from the playoffs, concluding his rookie NBA season. “We’ve got a lot more in us, we’ll be back here”.
These words mean the world to the Utah Jazz. After an unbelievable season that gave us some of the most amazing memories in years, Donovan Mitchell says it’s just the beginning. All of those dunks, all of those spin moves through the lane, all of those scoop shots- and it’s just the beginning. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz.
If you haven’t already watched/listened to Mitchell’s exit interview, you need to do so RIGHT NOW. Mitchell’s voice has been outstanding this entire season, starting with his initial pre-draft inteview with the Jazz. He finished stong in his media duties, an gave us a well-spoken, humble, and inspiring message in his locker room cleanout video.
Mitchell talked about his developement has a rookie, and says that he will definitely go back and watch all 97 games from this season. He talked about goals, and what he plans to do this offseason to get better.
"The goals are the same...Individually, I want to be Defensive Player of the Year, I want to be, you know, an All-Star, an MVP...now it's like you can taste it a little more."— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) May 9, 2018
There’s just something about the way Donovan Mitchell talks that makes you believe in him. I don’t know if it’s the way that he carefully responds to each question, making sure he gets his point across genuinely. Or if it’s the way he looks at the person he’s talking to right in the eye, completely confident in what he is saying. I’m not sure what it is, but when Donovan Mitchell speaks, it resonates in you. It’s a similar effect that guys like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant have on people when they open up. They change the game. Before his career is over, I don’t think it’s crazy to think that he too could change this game.
My favorite of Mitchell’s words came when he was asked about expectations for the coming years for the Utah Jazz.
"I'm not satisfied until we win a championship. And after we win one, I want to win two."— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) May 9, 2018
Donovan Mitchell will not be completely satisfied until he wins championships. It’s a true champion’s mentality, and he even shows a little righteous greed with wanting to win not one, but two. The Jazz have plenty to be excited about with Donovan Mitchell, and maybe these championships are closer than we all think.
Another must-listen from Wednesday’s lockerroom cleanup interviews was Ricky Rubio’s. Rubio opened up and talked with media about how much this team meant to him, both on and off the court. He claimed this to be his “best season ever”, one in which he found his confidence and felt comfortable in his role within the team.
Rubio also talked about how hard it was to miss the Houston series after a hamstring injury, and how it will fuel him to want to get back in years to come.
Ricky Rubio on being injured during the playoffs:— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) May 9, 2018
"I went through hell. It was one of the toughest moments of my career. It was bittersweet because it was one of the best moments of my career and one of the worst."
He mentioned how he wanted to leave it all out on the court in the playoffs, not holding anything back, and how that might have played a role in reaggravating that hamstring that had been injured weeks before. Watching Rubio’s interview, you just can’t help but root for the guy. His toughness and heart means so much to this Jazz team. Here’s to many more playoff games Ricky.
We couldn’t talk about the exit interviews and not mention how great Joe Ingles is. The Aussie’s charm was bright on display once again as he popped off some dad jokes and talked about the Jazz season.
Reporter: How did Donovan earn the respect of the locker room?— Josh Furlong (@JFurKSL) May 9, 2018
Ingles: He didn’t. Who told you that (as he chuckles)?
He also took a little jab at Gordon Hayward when speaking to Derrick Favors’ free agency decisions this summer and if he will try to talk him into staying.
Joe Ingles on the team's free agents: "Fav said I didn’t need to go on a private jet to see him. Just to FaceTime him."— Aaron Falk (@aaronfalk) May 9, 2018
But that’s not all. Ingles’ also poked a little fun at Trey Lyles and his “three-hour practice” comments from a few months ago.
Joe Ingles on in-season development: "It's just part of the culture. It's just what we do. Sometimes we have 3-hour practices."— Ben Dowsett (@Ben_Dowsett) May 9, 2018
Joe Ingles is incredible, and we need to treasure him forever and ever.
Also, here is his “mixtape” put together by ESPN and Cycles’s “Buckets”
The Joe Ingles mixtape!— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 5, 2018
(Via @ESPNNBA) pic.twitter.com/1rD14zRVj6
Even with a bright future ahead, the Jazz still have lots of questions to ask themselves internally regarding personnel and salary cap situations. The Ringer’s Paolo Uggetti took a look at some of these questions and how the Jazz will need to answer them as they look to contend in the coming years.
Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell helped the Jazz exceed all expectations this season. Now that it’s over, the team will have to figure out how to take the next leap. @PaoloUggetti: https://t.co/nd779dzY7Z— The Ringer (@ringer) May 9, 2018
Rudy Gobert is making an appearance in the “feel good” section of today’s downbeat. As he has done before in visiting cities, Gobert donated funds to charity for every blocked shot he had in that city’s game. This is an extremely cool gesture from Gobert, and should not go unnoticed.
Sportsmanship is everything! Thank you @rudygobert27 @RudysKidsInc for your $5k donation & believing in us! You’re always welcome in #Htown #settoprotect #rudyskids #nbaplayoffs pic.twitter.com/ukJIKVdL7R— Boys & Girls Clubs Houston (@bgcghouston) May 9, 2018