Mitchell, Gobert, Conley, Ingles, O’Neale Bounced From Playoffs

Apr 27, 2023, 12:14 AM | Updated: 10:49 am

SALT LAKE CITY – It was a brutal opening round of the playoffs for former Utah Jazz players Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley, Joe Ingles, and Royce O’Neale.

The five former Jazzmen, now split between four separate rosters all saw their teams eliminated in the first round of the postseason while offering little in the way of opposition.

The four teams went a combined 3-16 in the opening round, with none of the former Jazzmen earning more than a single win in their respective series.

Nuggets Trash Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley

Though eight seeds rarely knock off one seeds in the first round of the playoffs, the Minnesota Timberwolves looked particularly hapless against the Denver Nuggets in their postseason matchup.

Denver defeated Minnesota 4-1, with the Timberwolves winning a meaningless game four at home to stave off elimination, and needing overtime to do so.

Rudy Gobert played well in the series averaging 15.0 points and 12.2 rebounds per game, but missed opportunities on the glass, mixed with his late-season punch directed at teammate Kyle Anderson did not earn the three-time Defensive Player of the Year many fans in Minnesota.

Mike Conley offered a steady 12.0 points and 6.4 rebounds for the series, but shot just 2-7 in the Timberwolves season-ending game five.

It’s also worth noting former Jazzman Nickeil Alexander-Walker had a breakout series with the Timberwolves after averaging 8.4 points on 40 percent shooting from the three-point line while displaying impressive on-ball defense.

Knicks Upset Donovan Mitchell, Cavaliers

It may not be a total surprise that the New York Knicks eliminated Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers after losing the season series 3-1.

However, the Cavaliers managing to win just one game, despite owning the higher seed and homecourt advantage was one of the less predictable outcomes in the opening round.

Mitchell opened the playoffs with a brilliant 38 point, five rebound, eight assist outing in a game one loss, but struggled over the final four games of the series.

The four-time All-Star saw his numbers dip to 19.5 points, 7.0 assists, and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 41 percent from the floor and 24 percent from three while turning the ball over 4.3 times per game.

Mitchell and the Cavaliers failed to break the 100-point mark in all four of their playoff losses.

Heat Stun Ingles, Bucks

In unquestionably the most shocking outcome from the opening round, the eighth-seeded Miami Heat blew out the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks 4-1 to eliminate the NBA’s best regular season team.

The Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo in games two and three, but were simply outclassed by Jimmy Butler and coach Erik Spoelstra even after the MVP returned to the floor.

Ingles had been a strong weapon for the Bucks off the bench in the regular season but wasn’t utilized in a consistent role in the postseason.

The Australian guard averaged 6.8 points, 2.0 assists, and 1.2 rebounds in 18 minutes per game over five appearances, including a scoreless eight minutes in the series-clinching game five.

76ers Sweep O’Neale, Nets

In the least surprising outcome of the opening round the recently reformed Brooklyn Nets struggled to compete with the contending Philadelphia 76ers.

The Nets and 76ers was the only series to end in a sweep as Philadelphia dismantled Brooklyn with relative ease, despite three of the four games being decided by 12 points or less.

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Royce O’Neale averaged 5.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in the series but shot just 24 percent from the floor and 18 percent from three.

O’Neale was a steady starter for Brooklyn before the team traded Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline, sending the former Jazz wing to the second unit.

Other Former Jazzmen Still Competing

Though five of the most popular Jazzmen in recent seasons have been eliminated, there are still a handful of players competing for an NBA title.

Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley have helped the Los Angeles Lakers take a 3-2 series lead over the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.

Former Jazzman Georges Niang averaged 4.3 points for Philadelphia in the opening round while shooting an impressive 63 percent from the floor and 50 percent from three.

Trey Lyles and the Sacramento Kings will look to avoid elimination on Saturday when they travel to Golden State to face the Warriors in game six.

Cody Zeller spent the preseason with the Jazz before signing with the Heat midseason.

Former Jazz head coach Quin Snyder has helped the Atlanta Hawks stay alive in their matchup with the Boston Celtics.

Snyder and Atlanta will look to extend the series to a winner-take-all Game Seven when they face the Celtics in Atlanta on Thursday.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Mitchell, Gobert, Conley, Ingles, O’Neale Bounced From Playoffs