The emergence of Utah Jazz rookie shooting guard Donovan Mitchell has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2017-18 NBA season. Little was said about the former Louisville product coming into the year.
Needless to say, his stellar performance thus has taken the entire league by surprise. Everyone but Houston Rockets superstar point guard Chris Paul, who encouraged Mitchell to make the jump to the NBA rather than stay in school, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
“He was thinking about going to school,” Paul said. “I told some of the people at CAA and Donovan, ‘You’d be crazy to go back to school.’
“What I want for him is to keep taking it one day at a time, don’t get ahead of yourself. He loves the game. He has a great work ethic. And he can play.”
Paul having to convince Mitchell to enter the league instead of staying in school comes as somewhat of a surprise. Usually, players of his caliber have no shortage of reasons to want to go to the NBA. Even Paul himself faced a similar decision after his sophomore year at Wake Forest.
That said, it is promising to see Mitchell was more than willing to be patient with his development. However, it seems Paul had already witnessed firsthand how talented he already was.
The 13th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft largely flew under the radar coming into the year. That is certainly not the case anymore now that he is averaging 17.2 points, 3.2 assists, and 1.4 steals per game this season.