Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell outpacing Karl Malone, for now

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports) /

The all-time Utah Jazz scoring list has never seen a quicker early climber.

As a 2017 lottery pick who has since led the Utah Jazz in scoring every season he’s been in the league, Donovan Mitchell required only 262 games to surpass 6,000 points for his career.

That’s the least amount of games to do so in franchise history. Previously, Karl Malone, whose 36,928 points still sit No. 2 in NBA history, held that Jazz record at 271 games.

Mitchell reached the 6,000-point milestone while scoring 21 points on 6-for-16 shooting, including 3-for-5 from 3-point land, in a 131-119 road win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.

This comes about two months after “Spida” became the fastest in NBA history to knock down 600 career 3-pointers.

Where the two-time All-Star already ranks among all-time Utah Jazz scorers

Yes, Donovan Mitchell appears well on his way to nearing the top of the all-time Jazz scoring list. In fact, at age 24, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound guard is now only 1,243 points away from the current No. 10 on that list, Mehmet Okur.

To be respectful, though, Mitchell’s teammate, 29-year-old Derrick Favors, is at No. 11 right now and only 63 points from Okur’s mark.

Plus, 28-year-old Rudy Gobert (No. 16) also leads Mitchell (No. 17) in this regard among active Jazz players; however, with only 102 points more than Mitchell for his career and averaging 10.1 fewer points per game than him this season, Gobert’s lead might not be safe for more than another month.

Mitchell, Favors, Gobert, and the No. 1 Utah Jazz (29-10) are set for their third game in a five-game road trip when they face the Washington Wizards (14-25) at 5 p.m. MT Thursday.

And with All-Star Mike Conley resting a sore right hamstring, Donovan Mitchell should be in a position to further outpace Karl Malone as a scorer — by a smidge, anyway — due to what should be a few extra shot attempts in light of his backcourt partner’s absence.

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On the other hand, considering Malone never averaged fewer than 27.0 points per game from age 24 to 29, it certainly won’t be easy for Mitchell, who’s putting up a career-high 24.6 points per game this season, to stay ahead of his pace much longer.