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Jazz Fans Shouldn’t Worry About The Team Relying On Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz reacts after his shot and foul by Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a 95-86 Lakers win at Staples Center on October 25, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It was not unexpected to see Donovan Mitchell as the top-scoring guy when the Jazz beat the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday – 106-104. It was the fifth time in eight games he led his team in points – but should fans be worried about the offense relying too much on him?

The team needs Mitchell to score since Utah’s points per 100 possessions are steady with him on the floor but plummet when he is on the bench.

So are the Jazz relying too much on their 3rd-year guard early in the season? KSL Sports’ and host of Jazz Notes Ben Anderson doesn’t think so.

“This is a team that’s brand new with (several) new players who are trying to figure it out,” Anderson said on the Jazz Notes podcast. “That’s when you need to rely on old faithful, and that’s Donovan Mitchell at this point…(The team needs to) go to what works and Mitchell is having a brilliant start to the season.”

Anderson pointed out that if the Jazz’s offense still looks like its current form at the mid-point of the season, they might be in trouble.

Cleon Wall, co-host of Jazz Notes, said the Jazz don’t need to panic and go out and trade for another volume scorer, they just need to offload some of that scoring responsibility on to Bojan Bogdanovic.

“That’s the guy who will take pressure off of (Mitchell). And he works well off of him too…(Bogdanovic) is still finding his way. He’s had his moments like (the Sixers game) in which he nailed a late 3-pointer to give the Jazz the cushion to win that game…Your expecting him to take a load on the offense and that means driving to the basket, shooting 3-pointers and generating offense,” said Wall.

Wall mentioned Bogdanovic and Mitchell have played a lot of minutes together and he’s interested to see if Coach Quin Snyder will try and play Bogdanovic more with Mitchell on the bench.

Anderson added the crux of the problem is when Mitchell sits.

“(Snyder) can’t rest him that much because you’re just not scoring when he’s not on the floor. That comes down to Mike Conley shooting better and he’s going to do that. He was just absurdly bad (to start the season),” Anderson continued.

He then pointed out that Conley historically starts out a season shooting poorly and that Joe Ingles is still figuring out his role coming off of the bench. He would like to see Ingles take more shots.

Jazz Adjustments

Jazz fans should not be concerned with the over-use of Mitchell because the team has been willing to make adjustments in order to correct any mistakes early in the season.

Anderson pointed out the team’s poor defense in the preseason as an example.

“When we talked to Joe Ingles before game 1, he told us that if (the media) had seen what we had been doing this past week, and basically they did not pick up a basketball, that you would not worry about how we’re going to play defensively,” Anderson said.

Through the first five games of the season, the team didn’t give up 100 points in any game.

The Jazz made adjustments to cut down turnovers, reducing the number of offensive rebounds to opponents and changing up the substitution pattern with Conley.

Conley’s switch has led to a bit more consistent shooting and a better understanding of the Jazz system.

Anderson and Wall talked about Conley’s block that seemed to energize the Jazz in their victory over the 76ers and the sometimes passive play of Joel Embiid. So take a listen to the most episode of Jazz Notes.

The Jazz Notes podcast drops at least weekly and can be found at KSLSports.com, the KSL Newsradio app, Apple Podcasts or other podcast providers.