Donovan Mitchell Plans To ‘Lock In’ On Defense With Cavs

Sep 28, 2022, 12:43 PM
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell defends Memphis Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks (Photo by Justin For...
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell plays defense against Memphis Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Donovan Mitchell says he’s planning to “lock in” on defense as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The former Utah Jazz guard discussed his defensive shortcomings after practice on Tuesday.

“I think a lot of it for me is focus,” Mitchell said, “attention to detail.”

The words will sound familiar for Jazz fans who remember Mitchell promising to improve his defensive performances repeatedly throughout his career in Utah.

The guard routinely referenced his defensive identity coming out of Louisville when questions arose about his effort with the Jazz.

Mitchell Credits Help On Offense With Improve Defense

Now in Cleveland, Mitchell said the offensive talent around him creates a pathway to better defense.

“I don’t have to do as much offensively,” Mitchell said of his new teammates. “So I’m able to lock in most possessions and I’m not tired.”

The Jazz finished with the top offense in the NBA last season but ranked tenth on defense.

Mitchell’s poor defense came to the forefront in the Jazz’s first-round playoff series against Dallas Mavericks last season. With Luka Doncic out of the lineup, Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson torched the Jazz defense throughout the series including a 41-point outburst in a pivotal Game 2.

“It’s not the ability, I can play defense,” Mitchell told the Cleveland media. “I know that for a fact that I haven’t shown that and that’s what I’m looking forward to doing here.”

The Cavaliers had the fifth-ranked defense last season and will look to improve their 20th-ranked offense without sacrificing their defensive identity with Mitchell in the lineup.

“It starts with the little things, which is attention to detail,” Mitchell said. “Keep my man in front, being there, making the extra effort to contest and that’s ultimately what my goal is.”

Mitchell can show off his new defense when the Cavaliers make their preseason debut on October 5 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

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