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 (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports) /

3. Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell

Here, we land on the Utah Jazz’s prized scoring guard. Obviously, we’ve established Mitchell’s significant statistics in previous slides, by way of comparison.

So consider this slide a tribute to a player who already ranks among the franchise’s all-time elite.

The Utah Jazz acquired Mitchell on draft day in 2017, after the Denver Nuggets selected him 13th overall. In all likelihood, neither franchise anticipated the young guard to explode into the ranks of the NBA’s best players. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what happened.

Mitchell entered the National Basketball Association like a man possessed, and he’s never looked back. His 20.5 points per game over his rookie season represents an elite figure for a rookie, and he’s increased his output in every subsequent season to reach the 26.4 he generated over the 2020-21 season.

At 24-years-old, Mitchell represents the present and the future for the Utah Jazz. His Win Shares (WS) ranked third on the team last season at 6.2, behind Rudy Gobert’s massive 11.3 and Joe Ingles’ 7.0. Here’s where opponents of advanced metrics speak up: Mitchell’s significance to the Jazz’s odds of contending, as their lone volume scorer and number-one offensive option, is clearly higher than a solid role player like Ingels’.

Mitchell could continue to make strides on the defensive end (again, he graded as a virtual non-factor over the 2020-21 regular season) and as a playmaker (although he’s continued to improve in that area, upping his assists per game from 4.3 to 5.2 last season). Nonetheless, he is the most important player on the Utah Jazz, and looks like the third best shooting guard in the NBA on several key measurements.