Jazz’s Mike Conley impressed by Donovan Mitchell’s willingness to learn
Conley, who was traded from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Jazz in June, recently joined Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype for a wide-ranging interview. Amid their discussion, Conley noted his excitement to play alongside Mitchell in the coming season:
HoopsHype: This offseason, you and Donovan Mitchell have worked out together with skills trainer Chris Johnson. What do you think of Donovan and how you guys can complement each other as a backcourt tandem?
MC: It’s exciting to play next to a guy like Donovan because he’s truly a special player. When I say that, I mean his willingness to learn and his willingness to want to get better in so many different areas. He knows what he needs to improve on and he’s not afraid to attack those [aspects of his game]; he’s not going to ignore them and act like they don’t exist. He’s willing to say, “Hey, I need help learning how to shoot a floater,” or, “Hey, I need help reading this defense in pick-and-rolls,” or whatever it may be. If there’s something that he feels he needs to work on in that particular workout, he’s working and asking questions. With a guy like that, it’s easy to work with him. It’s easy to want to see him succeed and try to get the most out of him. I’m going to be here just trying to make the game a little bit easier on him, by not allowing teams to focus solely on him and hopefully giving him a little bit more legs down the stretch of long seasons.”
Mitchell, now 22 years of age and entering his third year of NBA service, is coming off a fine season with the Jazz. The former University of Louisville standout made 77 appearances during the 2018-19 regular-season campaign, racking up averages of 23.8 points on 43.2 percent shooting from the field (36.2 percent from beyond the arc), 4.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 33.7 minutes per outing.
The pairing of Conley and Mitchell in Utah was one of the more interesting stories of this offseason. As a result, many experts and analysts believe the Jazz will be a serious contender in the Western Conference. For now, though, the two stars will look to strengthen their bond as they prepare for the coming season.