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Is Donovan Mitchell the Most Underrated Player from 2017 Draft Class?



Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz have broken expectations repeatedly since he entered the league in 2017. Mitchell has carried the Jazz to new heights and broken franchise records in his young career. However, Utah Jazz is marginalized and dismissed by the basketball world. This is because of the lack of superstars who have been in the Jazz in recent times.

The only notable superstars in the Jazz franchise are Karl Malone and John Stockton. Both these stars are from the Era of Michael Jordan and led the Jazz to the finals in 1997 and 1998 only to lose to the Chicago Bulls.

Mitchell and Gobert have brought life back into the Jazz franchise in recent times. Since Donovan entered the league, the Utah jazz has made the post-season every year. The playoffs is where the true stars shine in the NBA. This is because a single player can’t have a hot shooting night and win the game for his team as it happens in a regular-season game.

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Donovan Mitchell elevates in the postseason

Despite being only 24 years old, Donovan has made his impact on the league in the post-season. In his first year, he eliminated Westbrook, Paul George, and the OKC Thunder. The Jazz lost to the Rockets the following season and lost to the Denver Nuggets in 7 games in the bubble. In the playoffs, Mitchell has elevated his play in comparison to the regular season. Mitchell averaged 26.4 points per game this regular season shooting 43% from the field.

However, Mitchell appears to transform into a different player when it matters the most. in general, young players are likely to play worse in the playoff intensity due to lack of experience and additional pressure. Donovan has broken past these barriers several times in his career. He is averaging 32 points on 47% shooting from the field in this postseason. This is coming off an injury where he was sidelined for 16 games in the regular season and only started playing in the second game of the first round.

Having such an impact on the court at such a young age sets Mitchell apart from the rest of the young players in the league. He is simply playing on another level in each post-season appearance. Last year in the Bubble, Mitchell averaged 36 points on 50% shooting from the field and three-point line! This is simply a remarkable stat. It goes to show that Spida steps up in big moments when his team needs him the most.

Utah Jazz offers Mitchell Max Contract Extension

The young star was arguably robbed of the Rookie of the year award in his first season. The ROTY award went to Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers. Ben Simmons is averaging less than 14 points per game in his last two playoff appearance just to put things in comparison.

Although both players have very different skill sets, play styles, and builds, one could argue that Mitchell is a far more impactful player for the Jazz than Simmons is for the 76ers. Donovan is as deadly a threat on offence as Jason Tatum or Luka Doncic but is never given the credit or acknowledgement that these players receive from the Media and the rest of the world.

The Utah Jazz front office knows what Mitchell is worth. His incredible performance in the Bubble last season made it clear to the Jazz that they should retain their star player. They offered Mitchell a 5 year 195 million dollar contract. This is the maximum amount of money that a franchise can offer a rookie upon the expiration of their first contract.

So far this season, Mitchell has proved that he is worth every penny. The Jazz secured the first seed this season and now have a 2-0 lead on the LA Clippers in the second round. This is the furthest he and the Jazz have made it into the offseason. The sky is the limit for this organization that posses a rare talent like Mitchell. The Jazz is expected to be serious playoff contenders in the west with Donovan Mitchell leading them.

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