Donovan Mitchell is bringing LeBron James vibes to the Cavaliers

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images /

There’s always going to be Cleveland Cavaliers fans out there that will firm in their belief that the team shouldn’t have done the Donovan Mitchell trade last offseason with the Utah Jazz.

Hey, it’s their opinion. The Cavaliers did give up a bunch for Mitchell in the deal. Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton (via sign-and-trade), what became Ochai Agbaji and other assets to come down the road was a lot. The Jazz made out well in the trade, and props go to Danny Ainge and them for the haul they received.

For the Cavs, though, it’s not as if Utah committed highway robbery, folks. Mitchell made the All-Star Game in his last three seasons with the Jazz heading into this year, and this season, he was named an All-Star starter for the first time in what’s been realistically his best year to date through six seasons. He’s simply been incredible so far with Cleveland.

Mitchell has had career-bests with 28.3 points per game, and in true shooting percentage, at 61.4. His multi-faceted offensive repetoire has been on display time and time and time again this year for the Cavaliers, and he’s given Cleveland a different gear offensively they haven’t had since the LeBron James days.

Speaking of James, in this sense, it’s clear as the season has worn on, that Mitchell has given this Cavaliers team a different feel in how with him in there, this team is never completely out of it.

With Donovan Mitchell, it feels as if the Cavaliers can beat anybody, and can’t ever be counted out, similar to the LeBron James days of yesteryear.

This Cavaliers club had some glimpses of hope in recent seasons prior to last year, and their young talent was promising. Last year, the Cavaliers turned a corner as well, and despite falling off post-All-Star break, they did make a Play-In Tournament appearance.

This season, they’ve been able to take that next step from there, too, and the Cavaliers are headed to the playoffs, and have secured home court advantage in the first round. Cleveland has had a 50-win campaign, which has been a fun one to watch.

Circling back, though, what’s been different about this team, not discounting other guys, has been the aforementioned Mitchell, and it’s been somewhat reminiscent of the LeBron days, in either stint, feasibly. When Mitchell has been out there, there’s always a feeling that the Cavs are never out of it, and can beat anybody, any given night.

The Cavaliers have had a bunch of games where they’ve come back from double-digit deficits and won this season, or have ended up right there at the end. On the flip side, they’ve also ridden some big runs to decisive victories, too. What’s been a driving force for the team in setting the tone, however, has often been Mitchell.

Mitchell is fresh off having four straight 40-point games for the Cavs, and in Cleveland’s last game at the Orlando Magic, he had 12 of his 43 points in the fourth quarter, which included him canning several shots in the closing minutes.

Even against the Atlanta Hawks with the team without Jarrett Allen and Isaac Okoro last Tuesday, when the club was seemingly out of it at various points, the Cavaliers stormed back in that one, settled down and were right there down the stretch. Atlanta did eventually win the game 120-118, but from Mitchell’s leadership, it seemingly gave the group a lift, and Cleveland would get some big plays to come from guys such as Evan Mobley, Darius Garland and Caris LeVert.

Looking at the season overall, and as it’s progressed, Mitchell recently broke James’ Cavs’ single-season record for 40-plus point games, in which is likely to remain at 13 for the year, and heading into the postseason, one can have trust in him to get it done on the big stage for Cleveland’s offense.

Of course, the Cavaliers need to prove themselves now in the playoffs, and Mitchell is one of only a handful of Cavs with meaningful playoff experience. Mobley and Garland have not been there before, and some guys on this team are going to have to have trial by fire in that regard.

Even with that being the case, though, with a budding superstar in Mitchell leading the Wine and Gold, they will seemingly always have a chance. With his shooting skill set/range, shot creation, driving abilities, athleticism, and his playmaking sense, Mitchell is bringing LeBron-esque vibes to these Cavs they haven’t had since LeBron was with the team in how Don’s uplifted his teammates. In games Mitchell has played this season, the Cavs are 44-24; he’s had a profound on impact.

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The Cavaliers stout defense has plenty to do with them always having a chance, no matter what, but what Mitchell has brought this season gives the team a next level of star power they haven’t had since The King was here, in either stint.