Utah Jazz: Ranking Donovan Mitchell among NBA’s top shooting guards

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports) /

In the era of the playmaking wing, the shooting guard position might be making a comeback of its own. Where does the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell stack up among the league’s best? 

A short time ago, it was not uncommon to see several shooting guards ranked among the best players in the National Basketball Association. Longtime Utah Jazz fans especially remember a hyper-competitive, bald-headed shooting guard all-to-well (and none-too-fondly).

The influence of Michael Jordan was pervasive. Following his departure from the NBA, many of the league’s best players played the shooting guard position, with some even meticulously replicating Jordan’s style. Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter were just some of the many score-first off-guards who populated the ranks of the NBA’s elite.

The NBA, it has been said, is a copycat league, and LeBron James has been the new cat to copy since his arrival as the Association’s flagship superstar. His influence has marked the rise of oversized point guards and playmaking wings (an often meaningless distinction) as the league’s premier player archetype.

Still, the game will always be about a bucket, and some of the NBA’s elite shooting guards can still provide them in bunches. Where does the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell rank among the NBA’s best shooting guards?

For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll be mostly looking at a number of statistics from the 2020-21 NBA season, including each player’s combination of scoring volume and efficiency, according to True Shooting % (TS%). Then, we’ll also be looking at their defensive impact according to two metrics:  Defensive Rating and Defensive Box Plus/Minus (DBPM). Finally, we’ll factor in Value Over Replacement Player (VORP).

These are not strict criteria: rather, we’ll use them as guiding principles in these rankings. Here’s how Mitchell stacked up with the Association’s best off-guards.