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Donovan Mitchell Will Get You Buckets

Fresh off his 41-point statement game on Friday, Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell has remained hot as hell. His contribution to Utah’s all-devouring 116-69 destruction of the Wizards was 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting; he sat the entire fourth quarter. Mitchell’s 16.7 points per game put him third among all rookies and within a point of passing Rodney Hood to become Utah’s leading scorer. Just 24 games into his NBA career, Mitchell gives off the distinct impression that he’ll spend the next decade or so scoring lots and lots of buckets.

Mitchell creates shots of his own, which is something this particular Jazz squad desperately needs, but he also has unusually fine taste when it comes to where he finds them. That 41-point game produced one of the prettiest shot charts you’ll ever see; on the season, he’s attempting 42 percent of his shots from the arc and another 26 percent from within three feet of the basket, per Basketball Reference.


That’s efficient, but it leaves out what a joy Mitchell is to watch in making it all happen. What’s especially fun is how Mitchell gets to the hoop, with a wily repertoire of one-on-one moves. One moment he’s at the top of the key with just a bit of breathing room—and then, two long-ass steps later, after windmilling the ball well out of defenders’ reach with his 6-foot-10 wingspan, he’s celebrating a made layup. Occasionally he’ll get overeager and hoist a weird floating midrange jumper, and only occasionally will these go in—he sits well below 30 percent when shooting anywhere between 3-16 feet—but it’s still exciting to watch him test the limits of his improvisational ability. It’s also exciting to watch him yam a sweet alley-oop from Grim Rick:

So: Mitchell is long, agile, bouncy, savvy, shooting 44 percent on catch-and-shoot threes, and full of defensive potential. At the 13th pick, the Jazz found a two-guard fit for the future.

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