Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns: Rookie race intensifies

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 2: Donovan Mitchell
PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 2: Donovan Mitchell /

Donovan Mitchell led all players in scoring with his second 40-point performance of his rookie season to lead the Utah Jazz to a win over the flailing Phoenix Suns, 129-97.

The obvious statement from last night’s Utah Jazz win over the Phoenix Suns is: Donovan Mitchell was incredible. Most Jazz fans (and even some national folks!) believe Donovan Mitchell is now the frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year award. If he’s not, well he’s pretty close.

His final stat line was really impressive and a LOT more than just scoring.

Some fun facts after last night’s game.

He’s also setting some other records.

So, he’s the player of the game, right?

Not necessarily. Despite how obvious it is to look at Donovan’s spectacular play AS A ROOKIE, we also have to look at two other players who are almost as deserving of the “game ball”.

Ricky Rubio has arrived. And not just Ricky Rubio the Spanish Lion with tattoos and a grizzled appearance. No, Ricky Rubio with all of those things along with confidence and an understanding of Quin’s system.

In the Jazz four-game win streak, Ricky Rubio has been incredible and last night was no different. He had 14 points, six rebounds, nine assists and two steals. His 39 +/- wasn’t the game high, but it was second highest. He also harried Devin Booker on defense throughout the night, forcing him into a 7-of-24 shooting night.

Rudy Gobert had a cool 40 in that category along with nine rebounds, five blocks, a steal and 10 points. He was an absolute beast defensively, and has been since his return.

With this group finally, FINALLY gelling, there’s actually a real shot at the playoffs, however long that shot is. And more importantly, the team is having fun again.

It will be very interesting to see how the trade deadline shakes out with this group playing so well together lately.

Next: Utah Jazz: Charles Barkley calls Donovan Mitchell best rookie

The guys are back at it for a road back-to-back against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night.