Donovan Mitchell sees himself in Lonnie Walker IV but with a Kobe Bryant mentality
The emergence of Utah Jazz stud Donovan Mitchell was one of the biggest surprises from last season. Now moving to his sophomore year, the 21-year-old appears to have chosen his heir apparent, and it comes in the form of San Antonio Spurs rookie Lonnie Walker IV.
In a clip shared by NBA TV from last June’s draft, Mitchell is seen talking up the prospect of Walker. Last season’s Rookie of the Year runner-up was asked who he would pick in this class to have the potential to be the next Donovan Mitchell, and he had this to say:
“I love Lonnie Walker,” stated Mitchell. “He has that factor that is kind of like… he’s quiet but he’s a killer. It’s like a Kobe (Bryant) kind of mentality. I’m not saying he’s going to be Kobe, don’t get me wrong, but that mentality… And he’s taller than me too!”
These are some big shoes to fill for Walker, as Mitchell’s debut season was absolutely one for the books. In his rookie campaign, Mitchell incredibly averaged 20.5 points, 2.4 three-pointers, 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. What makes this even more impressive is that he did this while leading a Jazz team that would go all the way to the Western Conference semifinals.
For his name to be used in the same breath with the great Kobe Bryant adds further pressure on Walker. Nonetheless, in a rookie class that has no shortage of big names, flying under the radar is definitely one thing that should work in his favor.