Donovan Mitchell becomes first rookie leading scorer of playoff team since Carmelo Anthony
No one expected the Utah Jazz to move on from the loss of Gordon Hayward this quick. The now-Boston Celtics forward was the Jazz’s leading scorer and go-to-guy, but the arrival of Donovan Mitchell filled the void in an unexpected manner.
Mitchell has been so good that he has led the team in the scoring department this season, averaging 20.4 points to go along with 3.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. In fact, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon noted that the dynamic shooting guard even became the first rookie to lead a playoff-bound team in points per game since Carmelo Anthony did it with the Denver Nuggets in the 2003-04 season when he had 21.0 points per game.
Coming out of college, Mitchell wasn’t hailed as a jackpot prospect. He did end up being a lottery pick after being selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 13th overall pick in the draft. However, he was instantly traded on draft night to the Jazz.
Mitchell has had a steady climb all season long, proving his two-way brilliance and knack for hitting clutch shots, giving Jazz fans plenty to be excited about when it comes to their team’s future.
Ironically, Anthony was also engaged in a tight two-way battle for the Rookie of the Year award that season, but ultimately lost out to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James. Mitchell is currently embroiled in the same circumstance and with another do-it-all player similar to James in the Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons.
Regardless of the result, nothing is going to take away from Mitchell’s incredible rookie season.