Utah Jazz: one goal for every player in the starting lineup

Utah Jazz (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) /

Utah Jazz shooting guard Donovan Mitchell

2021-22 Goal: Improve defense

We’ve already outlined the potential benefits of Donovan Mitchell making a leap on the defensive end. Nonetheless, those benefits are worthy of repeat mention.

Unlike in the case of his Utah Jazz teammate Bojan Bogdanovic, we haven’t bothered to outline a specific, measurable statistical goal for Mitchell to meet. Instead, the explosive young off-guard is afforded the luxury of leeway due to his considerable offensive workload.

Still, getting his DBPM back out of the red would qualify as a starting point. Mitchell’s actually posted a positive score in that metric twice throughout his young NBA career, in both his rookie and sophomore seasons. In the seasons following, Mitchell’s DBPM has been negative (-0.6 in each of his last two seasons).

At 6’1, Mitchell is arguably an undersized off-guard. However, his considerable wingspan compensates some for his lack of height, and his explosiveness and quick hands should provide him with the framework to be an average, or even better, NBA defender.

Sometimes, defensive negligence arises out of the need to preserve energy, and that may hold true in Mitchell’s case, as he scored a team-leading 26.4 points per game for the Utah Jazz last season. Ultimately, it’s that kind of offensive creation that elevates Mitchell to the position of being the most important player on his team.

Regardless, if he made it a goal for himself to generally improve his defense over the 2021-22 NBA season, he’d be able to provide the Utah Jazz with even more value.