If it weren’t for Chris Paul and Paul George, Utah Jazz rookie hotshot Donovan Mitchell could be preparing to torch ACC defenders in the upcoming NCAA season as the top offensive weapon on the Louisville Cardinals’ roster.
According to a story by Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, Mitchell said that it was Paul and George who urged him to turn pro this year after attending a camp run by the Houston Rockets point guard.
“He’s actually, him and Paul George, are the main reasons why I’m here,” Mitchell said. “They told me I should definitely stay in the draft and had a big influence on my decision. Being at that camp, I learned a lot. He told me the game’s going to have to start slowing down before success is going to come.
“I worked out with him pretty much all summer, learned a lot.”
Donovan Mitchell was drafted by the Denver Nuggets 13th overall in this year’s draft before trading his rights to the Jazz for Tyler Lydon and Trey Lyles. Before declaring for the draft, Mitchell played for two seasons under Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino, averaging 15.6 points per game in his sophomore year.
Come to think of it, if Mitchell decided to stay for one year at Lousiville, Pitino might not have found himself in a bribery scandal involving Louisville freshman swingman Brian Bowen—expected to help cover Mitchell’s void—and he could probably still be coach of the Cardinals with some of his dignity intact. (That might be a reach but you get the idea.)
Louisville’s loss is Utah’s gain, as the Jazz rookie is starting to get a grip of play in the NBA. Donovan Mitchell is averaging 13.1 points per game this season but has become the top offensive weapon of the Jazz of late, topping the team with 23.3 points over the last three games.
You can count Mitchell’s early success as one of Paul’s assists.