Utah Jazz: Ranking the 10 projected rotation pieces

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports) /

1. Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (projected starter)

Because he wisely chose to recuperate and train rather than compete in the Tokyo Olympics this summer, Donovan Mitchell should be in tip-top shape when the 2021-22 Utah Jazz regular season tips off in mid-October.

Thus far, he’s never quite averaged 35 minutes per game in any of his four stellar seasons since somehow falling to No. 13 overall at the 2017 NBA Draft. But that should change next season, regardless of what looks to be a slightly improved supporting cast in Salt Lake City.

Mitchell is already the man in town — has been for years. At the same time, though, he’s still just a 24-year-old ultra-competitive kid who seems to enjoy further developing his bounce-driven game, 24/7/365. He’s relentlessly finding methods to out-jump, out-race, out-maneuver, out-shoot, and flat-out out-do the league’s handful of other rising superstars.

Already one of the premier all-time Jazz players, chances are “Spida” begins flirting with the top few spots on that list. Yes, Mitchell could climb to the highest ranks in Utah lore by cementing his name in the MVP conversation and then leading the franchise to its never-before-seen promised land with the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy in hand.

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Factor in the two-time All-Star’s offseason rest. Glance again at his unreal individual performances, with a bum ankle, in the 2021 NBA Playoffs; remember, he averaged 32.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 5.5 assists while knocking down 43.5 percent of his 3-point attempts.

No doubt, Donovan Mitchell is about ready to reach the levels where only legends roam.

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Projected playing time for Donovan Mitchell: 35 minutes per game