Donovan Mitchell’s scoring efforts for Cavs have him amongst NBA greats

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Donovan Mitchell has been massive for this Cleveland Cavaliers team. It’s difficult to quantify all he has meant to the Wine and Gold, quite frankly.

Mitchell has had a career year thus far for the Cavaliers, with 27.6 points per contest and a true shooting rate of 61.2 percent, and he’s tied his career-best with a three-point shooting clip of 38.6 percent. Mitchell’s range, shot creation and driving abilities have all contributed to his dynamite play for Cleveland, and in his first year with the Cavs, he was an All-Star starter for the first time in his career.

There’s been some bumps in the road for Mitchell, as there’s been for the Cavaliers as a whole, but all things considered, he’s given Cleveland a different gear offensively. Furthermore, after he helped propel the Cavaliers to escaping in a win over the Boston Celtics on Monday in overtime, Mitchell had his eighth 40-point game this season.

In turn, he placed himself in the conversation alongside some of the best in NBA history, in relation to players having their share of 40-point efforts in first seasons with their new teams, as expressed by Cavs Notes on Tuesday. That’s quite the list of NBA greats there.

Mitchell’s scoring efforts for the Cavs have placed him in the same category as NBA greats.

As we mentioned, there have been some tough outings for Mitchell, and him having dealt with a groin injury didn’t help, and following his 71-point outburst on Jan. 2 against the Chicago Bulls, he was somewhat up-and-down in January. But as the season has progressed, he has found his rhythm far more game-to-game, and for much of the season, he’s provided a playmaking boost, too.

Regarding his scoring efforts, though, he’s still had a ton of big efforts for the Cavaliers, and by and large, he has paced the team, and he’s delivered in key situations.

Mitchell had 40 points in the Cavs’ overtime W on Monday, albeit against a shorthanded C’s team, however, he still had a bunch of big buckets in that one. And in his past 10 games, he’s had 31.3 points per contest, and has shot 38.8 percent from three, and has had three 40-point games.

Mitchell has been an invaluable player for the Cavaliers this season, and his combination of shot creation, touch at all levels, change of pace, burst and power have all been on display in recent weeks.

Now, it’s less than ideal that he’s dealing with a finger sprain, but he’s typically been a durable player, with his prior Utah Jazz days in mind, and provided the team and he manage that, it shouldn’t be overly serious. That last game against the Celtics was reason for optimism on that, too, for what it’s worth.

Anyways, as that aforementioned tweet from Cavs Notes highlighted, Mitchell has had the most 40-point games for a player in his first year with a new team since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1969-1970, which reiterates how Mitchell’s been such a difference-maker.

Along with that, his on and seemingly off-floor leadership has been huge for Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and a still young Cavaliers team, and it will continue to be. Mitchell deserves his share of credit for that as well, to go with his playmaking, and improved defensive play this season.

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But, rest assured, the bucket-getting from Donovan has been unreal, and while the expectations were high coming into this season, he’s exceeded them.