Donovan Mitchell had a surprising breakout rookie season. In his first 11 games of his career he came off the bench in eight of them. Quin Snyder believed in him and put him back in the starting lineup and things took off for Mitchell. All eyes will be on him to see how elevates his game for his second season.
Mitchell averaged 20 ppg, 3.7 apg, 3.7 rpg on 43% shooting and 34% 3-point shooting. He broke the record of most 3-pointers made by a rookie with 187. In the playoffs he went toe-to-toe against Russell Westbrook and then against Chris Paul and James Harden. He held his own averaging 24.4 ppg, 4.2 apg and 5.9 rpg.
This season defenses will be prepared to stop Mitchell. In order to take his game to the next level, he has to be more efficient and do a better job of getting to the line. He can get into the lane and throw down powerful dunks with the best of them but he has to be crafty around the basket. On offense the Jazz are a middle of the pack team. They need Mitchell to take a step forward so they have a better chance against playoff teams.
Attempting more free throws will help Mitchell’s EFG which was only at 50% last season. He got to the line under four times a game. Most elite guards attempt at least six or seven free throws a game. He will improve on the 43% shooting from the field and he will probably stay around 34% from 3-point range although he may attempt more shots.
Mitchell is battle tested already and that may benefit him in getting calls. He’s no longer a rookie and he played well against other All-Star guards in the playoffs. He’s playing in a guard heavy Western Conference but Mitchell is already a fan favorite so don’t be surprised if he’s in the discussion for an All-Star nod this season.