The Utah Jazz have compiled the Western Conference's sixth-best record this year, as they've managed to avoid the NBA's play-in tournament- for now. Led by Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, the Jazz are poised for their sixth straight playoff berth. However, things haven't been so rosy for the franchise all year, as there has been some passive-aggressive tension present between the team's two stars Mitchell and Gobert, calling their partnership into question. It didn't help matters that a recent stat, which showed that Mitchell only throws two passes Gobert's way per game, went viral. Mitchell was asked about the viral stat and the star guard broke his silence on the matter, as reported by Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune.
Donovan Mitchell's full response at shootaround this morning when he was asked about the number of times he passes to Rudy Gobert per game: pic.twitter.com/OTez0jURfz
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) April 5, 2022
Mitchell responded by acknowledging that while it is a “wild stat”. the Jazz possess the league's number-one offense while he and Gobert are the most efficient pick-and-roll combination in the NBA.
Clearly, the talented guard, who is an active presence on Twitter, hears the noise and knows what people are getting at by pointing out stats like these. To be fair to Mitchell, Gobert does a fair amount of his scoring on putbacks coming off of a rebound per NBA.com, so it's not like a typical guard-center combination.
However, it does call into question why he doesn't look Gobert's way more often- and if the two are on the same page. Ultimately, as long as the Jazz continue to have success offensively, the number of passes Mitchell throws to Gobert won't matter much.
However, if the Jazz, who are 4-6 in their last 10 games, continue to struggle, this narrative will come back even stronger.