Donovan Mitchell gives the Cavs another great PnR threat

Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images /

One has to assume that for the Cleveland Cavaliers in coming years, that recent trade acquisition Donovan Mitchell is now going to be the club’s primary option.

Prior to the trade, to me, that looked to be Darius Garland for this upcoming season, and Evan Mobley could’ve been the second option. That was debatable between Caris LeVert and possibly Collin Sexton, provided he stuck around, but Sexton was a part of that deal with the Utah Jazz, along with Lauri Markkanen, and other pieces.

With Mitchell in the fold in years to come, there are undoubtedly questions about the outlook with him on the squad, in fairness. Sexton was a heck of an offensive player for one, Markkanen was a real loss, and there was plenty of draft capital involved. We didn’t get a chance to see how Ochai Agbaji would pan out, either.

All of that said, I will acknowledge that Mitchell is a hell of an offensive player in his own right, and is one of the game’s best guards, so I do get that from Cleveland. He’s a three-time All-Star through five seasons (all of which were with Utah), and last year, had 25.9 points and 5.3 assists per contest for Utah.

The 26-year-old is a big-time player, and is set to be around for years to come, as this Cavaliers club looks to build on their surprising season in 2021-22, when they nearly made the postseason.

In Mitchell’s case, one particular area of his skill set is something that we should see pay dividends for off-ball guys, and take some pressure off of Garland, for instance.

Mitchell gives the Cavs another great pick-and-roll option to go to, and other guys can get open looks off that as a counter to his scoring.

Mitchell is one of the game’s best three-level scorers, as he displayed in his days with the Jazz. The Cavs had another talented PnR scoring threat aside from Garland in Sexton before, and that’s not to knock him in this sense.

With Mitchell, that’s taken to another level is all, and his shot creation in those situations and ability to hit threes from those looks gives Cleveland another deep shot creator there.

He knocked in 232 deep balls last season, which would be a Cavaliers single-season record, for added context. The shooting clip was 35.5 percent, and for his career thus far, that’s been 36.1 percent.

Furthermore, in the past three seasons Mitchell has placed in the 88th, 74th and 76th percentile in pick-and-roll ball handler scoring, per Synergy Sports. That was on frequencies of 47.5, 43.3 and 48.0 percent, again, per Synergy.

Mitchell had an effective field goal percentage of 53.8 on those attempts, for what it’s worth, which was notable, given the volume. Plenty of those attempts were on-ball three-point looks as well, and with Jarrett Allen’s screens, and/or some Kevin Love/Robin Lopez, he should be able to convert a solid dose of those regularly as well.

The gist here is, with Mitchell’s shooting and also counters in the mid-range off the bounce, he’ll be a key driving presence for Cleveland off that, too.

His athleticism, high-flying jams and finishes with touch with both hands will be crucial for the Cavs throughout games and could be in crunch time. And playing off that, his passing off drives is an area he’s shown marketed growth in recent seasons, regarding hitting catch-and-shoot threats, in particular.

That should enable Garland himself to benefit, along with guys such as Love, Dean Wade and LeVert, if he’s around, among others feasibly.

Moreover, with his range, shiftiness, explosion and outstanding handle, and with the passing abilities off that, Mitchell should be another great PnR option for Cleveland to take pressure off Garland.

Next. 3 worthwhile trades to flip LeVert for starting small forward. dark

That’s seemingly in stretches with or without Garland with him.