Despite being a potential lottery pick, Louisville standout Donovan Mitchell made the trip to Salt Lake City to work out with the Utah Jazz.
The Utah Jazz held pre-draft workouts on Saturday that differed from recent sessions. This weekend’s group featured prominent players with higher stock heading into next month’s NBA Draft. Guys whose names you may have actually seen on any of the myriad of mock drafts that dot the basketball blogosphere.
However, one player stood apart from the rest — former Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell.
While the Jazz would likely love to snag Mitchell, who helped lead the Cardinals to a 25-9 record and a Top-10 ranking last season, with one of their picks at the back end of the first round, they’ll be hard-pressed to do so. Mitchell is considered by many to be a lottery-level talent.
So why did the 6-foot-3, 215-pound guard make a point of beginning his pre-draft workout process in Utah?
Because he likes the team here. Naturally.
When asked why he would work out for a team situated so far outside of his projected draft range, Mitchell gave a glowing endorsement of the Jazz organization without missing a beat —
"“I just wanted to work out with the Jazz. I love the organization. I talked to my agent and he said he liked the people, the group. [Jazz GM] Lindsey is a great guy.”"
Mitchell also called Jazz star Gordon Hayward “one of the most underrated players in the NBA” and spoke about Rudy Gobert’s “shocking” size, while praising the effectiveness of the team’s offense.
The 20-year-old Mitchell played two years at Louisville under legendary coach Rick Pitino, averaging 15.6 points and just under five rebounds and three assists per game as a sophomore last season. For his efforts, he was a first-team All-ACC selection.
In addition to his statistical output, Mitchell has strong measurables for a combo guard, checking in with a 6-foot-10 wingspan and a standing reach of over eight feet at the NBA Draft Combine. He also led the field with a no-step vertical of 36½ inches.
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Mitchell hits the DraftExpress big board at No. 11. Meanwhile, the Jazz own two first-round selections (at No. 24 and No. 30) as well as two second-round picks in June’s draft.