After contributing the
Utah Jazz to some mad of the Oklahoma City Thunder from the play offs last year, it had been inevitable Donovan Mitchell would return this season with a target on his rear.
But after fighting for much of the first season, Mitchell is now out performing his rookie year, and it has led the Jazz back to the verge of a playoff berth.
an interview with Sports Illustrated, said he initially was caught off guard to begin his sophomore season and imputed his turnaround to teammates and also the sage advice of a few of the NBA’s most useful, most-seasoned players. Donovan Mitchell’s up tick out of 3-point range has stalled his second-half surge. He shot 29 percent in 3-pointers for the first 1 / 2 of the season; he’s got taken 39% since Jan. 1.
“Coach [Quin] Snyder stressed to me that this year was going to be a lot different, and it had been clearly just one thing for me to hear, and also another thing for me personally to really go through it,” Mitchell explained. “It is one of those things you really have to undergo, to see. They type of anticipated that happening; ” I did not.
“However, to have the support of my teammates throughout the early portion of the season was very special, and really helped get us back to where we now will need to become.”
Much of the struggle was a manifestation of the rivalry — that the Jazz have played with the second-toughest program this season, with an opponents winning percent of .517. (Utah gets got the easiest remaining schedule with an opponents winning percentage of .396.)
The lower point for Mitchell’s season might have come in mid-November, in a game in which he scored 31 points. His aids were an even more accurate barometer of his operation in the 113-107 loss at Philadelphia. It stood as merely the next zero-assist, 35-shot outing previously two decades in the NBA. Nobody had taken numerous shots with zero aids and scored fewer points since 1969.
“This year, it’s quite different. I have to be locked in for every single moment; they create it so tough on every possession,” Mitchell told SI.com. “However, the words I have received from
James [Harden], from Kobe [Bryant], Chris Paul, it’s helped me understand . I presume in my novice year, I was really amazed. This past year I came searching advice”
Mitchell hit his high-water mark on March two when he played with a career-high 46 points, which included two clutch 3-pointers down the stretch and also a pair of free throws late in the fourth quarter that solidified the Jazz’s 115-111 win over the NBA-leading
That operation punctuated a second-half surge in which he’s averaged 26.9 points — that the seventh-highest scoring average in the NBA since Jan. 1. It stands out as a huge improvement within the first three months of the growing season, in which he averaged 20.1 points.
Mitchell’s up tick from 3-point scope also has helped. He shot 29 percent in 3-pointers for the first 1 / 2 of the season; he’s got taken 39% since Jan. 1.
“Changing my pace and making an attempt to get to the free throw , that is something James [Harden] is great at and
Dwyane Wade spoke to me well,” Mitchell explained. “To hear that from them and then trying to follow their information really helped me get back on course “
“It has been a crazy last two decades, trying to absorb everything I have learned,” Mitchell explained. “We have found a healthy line up, also yet one that can be quite special. Now we’ve got to prove it each night.”
Information from ESPN Stats & Information was used in this report.