Cavs’ first week: Donovan Mitchell’s all-around play
Everyone knew that Donovan Mitchell was a talented, even special scorer. He stepped in and led the Utah Jazz offense as a rookie, he has overcome playoff defenses to put up big scoring nights, and his combination of shot creation and shooting puts him in a small and special category of players in this league.
That’s why his scoring binge to start his Cavaliers tenure wasn’t surprising, even as it was exciting. Mitchell became just the third player in NBA history to score at least 30 points in his first three games with a team, and he blew through Austin Carr’s Cavaliers record for points to start a season. Impressive, certainly, but not surprising.
What has been surprising is how much Mitchell has contributed everywhere else. With Darius Garland injured much has been asked of him, and he has met the call. He is not only averaging a career-high 28.5 points per game, but he is also contributing career-best numbers in rebounds (5.0), assists (7.3), steals (2.0) and grins (unofficial stat, roughly 5 billion per game).
Mitchell’s playmaking has been excellent, as he has been a true point guard on the court for a team that needed one. What’s more, on defense he has been locked in. He has always possessed the physical gifts to be a positive defender, and at least through four games he is bringing the effort and intensity — on Sunday he won the team’s Junkyard Dog award! If the Cavs get this Mitchell all season long, they are going to do great things.