Mitchell Proves Himself As ‘Best All-Around’ For Jazz
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – The Utah Jazz are just over one-eighth of the way through their season. There are a lot of games left for this potential Western Conference power. The team has played enough games to evaluate their limited progress on the season.
The guys on Jazz Notes podcast took a dive into what the Jazz have proven about themselves thus far into the season.
The team sits at 8-3 and are in second place in the West.
Donovan Mitchell: Best All-Around
It’s pretty clear that Utah’s best all-around player has improved – Donovan Mitchell.
“I didn’t know which Donovan Mitchell we would get,” said Ben Anderson on the latest Jazz Notes podcast. “According to Donovan, he didn’t know what he was going to do either (after the ups and downs of last season). He had times when he wondered if he was a one-hit-wonder…He’s gotten much better. He’s shooting the ball as well as we’ve ever seen him…I bet we see him stay around 24 or 25 points a game.”
Mitchell sits at 25.1 points a game and is shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from the 3-point line. If those numbers remain steady through the season, they would all be career highs.
“He has distanced himself from that narrative which people have of him that he is not an efficient scorer,” said Cleon Wall. “I think that is the surprise for me…I like the fact that he is shooting well, but he still feels the need every once a while…to take over (games) when (he) needs to but so far, that hasn’t happened a lot this season.”
Mike Conley: Finding His Groove
Mitchell’s new backcourt mate Mike Conley started the season on a rough note. Everyone remembers him shooting 1-16 to start the season and his next 3 games were not much better. Anderson stated since then, Conley has been a solid shooter.
“In his last 6 games (prior to the game against the Nets), he’s averaging just a hair under 19-points a game, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and he’s shooting 45 percent from the floor and 49 percent from the 3-point line…That’s the majority of his games this season. The question of if he has arrived or if he’s playing well, there is no doubt about it.”
Wall liked Conley’s leadership and deference in Utah’s game against Milwaukee.
Bojan Bogdanovic suggested he switch places with Conley on the floor right before Bogdanovic’s game-winning shot. Conley didn’t mind moving, but then suggested he start from another spot on the floor to be a decoy or provide better opportunities to score for his teammates.
“I think that you see that maturity in Mike Conley and this is why you (trade for) him. He’s going to have poor shooting nights, but on the other hand, he’s a leader. And then there will be other nights where he is lights out like against the first game against the Clippers,” Wall said.
Conley scored 29 points on 11-17 shooting in that game.
Rudy Gobert: Hitting On Offense
Gobert said he wanted the ball more and has been stellar the past two games offensively. The “Stifle Tower” has shot 19-32 from the field and scored 43 total points.
Wall said there is just something not sitting right when it comes to Gobert.
“I think he’s had some good games, I think he’s had some bad games. Maybe I’m just wanting more out of Rudy and I need to be a little bit more fair to him in wanting that out of him,” Wall defended.
Anderson said Gobert will get more touches and have better games if the Jazz get out and run more. Gobert is not getting the same amount of put-back opportunities this season compared to last season.
“I wonder if that is a result of defenders…no longer having to worry about Derrick Favors (going for offensive rebounds) so they put an extra body on (Gobert). Or if the Jazz have (told Gobert) that on missed offensive shots (they) don’t want him hanging out to try and grab the offensive board,” said Anderson.
Anderson wasn’t as harsh as Wall, adding that the Jazz are the number one defense in the league and Gobert is the only player on the team who is playing great defense.
Find out how the guys feel about Bogdanovic and the rest of the team by listening to the Jazz Notes podcast.
Jazz Notes is hosted by Ben Anderson and Cleon Wall. The podcast can be found wherever you find podcasts or on the KSL Sports app.