He’s thrilled to play for the Utah Jazz
Every Jazz fan knows the old mantra that players don’t want to play in Utah. Often looked down on as a small market with little to entice the average NBA player, there’s no secret that there’s typically a lack of excitement among free agents or draft picks facing the prospect of coming to play for the Jazz.
However, in the case of Donovan Mitchell, the complete opposite couldn’t be more true. Even as early as during his pre-draft workout with the Jazz, Mitchell had nothing but good things to say about the organization and the state itself. Per an article from KSL’s Andy Larsen, Mitchell said the following:
"“I wanted to work out for the Jazz. I love the organization. I talked to my agent, and he said we like the people and the group. Mr. Lindsey is a great guy, and I played against his son, and the first thing he talked about was the two steals he had against us when we were up 25. That type of camaraderie is something I like in an organization. Having one of the higher-ups interact with a player, and you see, it’s just a lot of fun. You don’t hear anything negative about the Jazz. And Utah, I love it. It’s quiet and nice, everything is clean for starters. I’m from New York, where it’s loud and dirty. But I like Utah a lot. It’s beautiful. I just like it out here.”"
That’s exactly what a Jazz fan wants to hear out of a newly acquired player. Dennis Lindsey echoed the sentiment when he said, “He loved us and we loved him.”
Beyond that, Mitchell was of course thrilled to be drafted by any team, but when he found out he had been traded to the Jazz his excitement shot up even more. You could see him fist pump on screen as he headed to the podium and on the night of the draft, the former Louisville guard explained why:
"“No disrespect to Denver, but I kind of gave a fist pump. Just really excited to go to Utah.”"
Finally, as Mitchell talked to the media both immediately after finding out the news that he was going to Utah and later that evening in a chat with Utah Jazz courtside reporter Kristin Kenney, he was obviously and visually elated. The excitement and expression in his voice made it all too clear that he was beyond thrilled to be playing in Utah.
Interestingly enough, for those of you who remember, Mitchell’s reaction was a polar opposite to that of Trey Lyles two years ago when he became aware that he was drafted by the Utah Jazz. While Mitchell was ecstatic, Lyles appeared indifferent at best and bordering on disappointed, making it all the more interesting that he was the one that the Jazz ended up having to ship out to acquire Mitchell.
Although it’s logical for Jazz fans to be excited about a guy that’s a seemingly perfect fit like Donovan Mitchell, it’s important to keep in mind that he is still a young rookie with a lot to learn about playing at the professional level. His journey will undoubtedly have some bumps along the way and it’s far too early to tell how his Jazz career is truly going to turn out.
Nevertheless, it’s hard to imagine it getting off to a better start than it already has. Mitchell has yet to play a single game in a Jazz jersey and already he’s won over the love of fans like few rookies ever have before.