It may seem impossible for Donovan Mitchell’s stock to soar any higher than it already has. Last season he made his first All-NBA team, averaging 28.3 points per game and memorably dropping 71 points on the Chicago Bulls. Yet to start the 2023-24 season, Mitchell has been even better.
He has had to be just to keep the Cavaliers afloat, as he has been without Allen’s defense to keep the score close and without Darius Garland to keep defenders off of him. He has faced constant double-teams, forcing Mitchell to work his way into the paint and take tough shots just to keep the offense moving.
Mitchell has averaged 31.5 points per game thus far, a career-best, and is hitting 62.7 percent of his 2-pointers, many of them seemingly forced in through sheer willpower. He’s also attacking the glass for 5.5 rebounds per game, a career-best, and swiping 2.8 steals per game, a ludicrous number but one that signals his activity on both ends of the court.
Only Luka Doncic is averaging more points per game, and only Marcus Smart has more steals per game. His Offensive Box Plus-Minus of +8.2 is second-best in the league behind only Stephen Curry, as is his overall BPM of +10.6. Mitchell is doing it all for Cleveland early, and if the Cavaliers can win a few more games to right their spot in the standings he’ll be in the mix for early-season MVP buzz.