Utah Jazz: 4 storylines to watch for in training camp

Utah Jazz (Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports) /

Speaking of guards who are obviously integral to the success of the Utah Jazz, Donovan Mitchell enters this season’s training camp as arguably the team’s most important player. At 25-years-old, the All-Star scoring guard still has room to grow, and for that reason alone, he’s one of the most exciting storylines for the team heading into camp.

Can he improve upon the 26.4 points per game he averaged last season? It’s a tall order. That’s already a star caliber scoring average, and Quin Snyder’s ball-movement heavy offense and deep cast of quality scorers may make it difficult for Mitchell to carve out a heavier slice of the scoring pie.

If that’s not an option, could he find more assists per game for the Utah Jazz? He averaged a solid 5.1 per game over the 2020-21 season, but it does feel as if Mitchell has room to develop his playmaking vision and boost that number up by a digit or two. As exciting as growth in this, or any other area, would be for the Utah Jazz and their fans, it’s on the defensive side of the ball where Mitchell could use the most improvement.

Last season, his Defensive Box Plus/Minus (DBPM) was -0.6, and his Defensive Rating was 110. Neither of those marks are necessarily cause for embarrassment, but they aren’t figures to be proud of either. At 6’1, Mitchell may struggle to guard taller guards, but he does have a stout 215-pound frame to go with elite burst, quick twitch instincts and superb lateral quickness.

Those are many of the physical tools possessed by elite defenders across the National Basketball Association. Fans of the Utah Jazz should be hoping to see Mitchell make use of them to make strides on the defensive end of the floor.

No matter which facet of his game Mitchell looks focused on improving in training camp, his presence on this squad alone is one of its most exciting storylines.