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Charles Barkley, Shaq: Donovan Mitchell Has ‘Zero Impact’ On Game Except Scoring

Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz reacts after a foul against the Portland Trail Blazers during the third quarter at Moda Center on December 23, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

 SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former NBA stars Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal criticized the game of Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell.

The NBA on TNT crew discussed Mitchell’s NBA All-Star vs. superstar status during the halftime of Utah’s game against New Orleans on Thursday, January 21.

NBA on TNT’s halftime show

“My question to the panel,” Kenny Smith asked Barkley and O’Neal. “Donovan Mitchell is at the point of superstardom, where he can take you there, or he still All-Star status?”

“He needs to be second or third option (on a team),” O’Neal responded.

“A superstar is a guy who can win the game multiple ways,” Barkley said. “There are a lot of guys who are great offensive players… Donovan is a terrific player. When guys try to explain this type stuff, it seems like it’s old guys hating. It’s like okay, he’s a great scorer. I will give you that. But he makes zero impact on the rest of the game.”

 

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“I’ll leave you with this,” Ernie Johnson said. “In his career, one double-digit rebound game. One double-digit assists game.

“That’s not gonna get it done,” Barkley responded.

Donovan Mitchell vs. Pelicans

Shortly after the second half began, Mitchell buried a triple to become the fastest player in NBA history to make 600 threes.

Mitchell finished the game with a game-high 36 points on 11-19 shooting, including 6-8 from downtown. He added seven rebounds, five assists, and a block.

Utah was plus-16 during Mitchell’s time on the floor.

The Jazz won the game, 129-118.

It was Utah’s seventh straight win, which is the longest current winning streak in the NBA.

The Jazz moved to 11-4 this season with the victory.

NBA on TNT’s postgame interview with Donovan Mitchell

After the game, Mitchell was interviewed by the NBA on TNT crew.

“I said tonight that you are one of my favorite players but you don’t have what it takes to get to the next level. I said it on purpose. I wanted you to hear it,” O’Neal told Mitchell. “What do you have to say about that?”

“Alright,” the Jazzman responded.

“That’s it?” O’Neal asked.

“That’s it,” Mitchell said. “I’ve been hearing that since my rookie year. You know, I’m just gonna get better and do what I do.”

 

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Donovan Mitchell’s 2020-21 season

Last season, Mitchell averaged a career-high 24.0 points per game and earned his first NBA All-Star selection.

Entering the game against New Orleans, Mitchell was averaging 23.5 points per game on 42.9 percent shooting this season. In addition to his scoring, the fourth-year guard is averaging 3.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists (career-high), 0.8 steals, and 0.4 blocks (ties career-high) per contest.

Mitchell has dished out three or more assists in every game this season.

He is tied for No. 18 in the league in scoring.

He is No. 42 in the NBA in assists.

Mitchell’s PER is No. 60 in the league at 17.97.

Since Mitchell began his rookie campaign, the Jazz have qualified for the NBA Playoffs every season, including reaching the second round in 2017-18.

During his first three seasons, Utah had an overall record of 142-94 and 9-14 in the postseason.

Mitchell and Utah’s next game is against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, January 23 at 7 p.m. (MDT). The game will broadcast on AT&T SportsNet and 97.5 FM.

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