In his Utah Jazz tenure, star Donovan Mitchell has led the franchise to the playoffs in every one of his five seasons, and also led the Jazz’s scoring in each one of those seasons. Bleacher Report ranked him as the third most dominant shooting guard in the league, and I’m inclined to agree with them.
Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell is aptly rated
I really do think that Donovan Mitchell is one of the most dominant players in the league. There’s an important distinction between best and dominant. Kyrie Irving is a great player, but he does not dominate. He has never been the true first option on a team unless you count his first season with the Nets when Kevin Durant was injured. So the distinction is important.
I’m a noted Devin Booker hater, so I do not think that he should be ranked as the most dominant player at his position. History agrees with me. When he was the only option on the Suns, the team was abysmal. It wasn’t until Chris Paul, Mikail Bridges, and Deandre Ayton came to town that the Suns became dominant. He’s a great player, but not a dominant force on the court.
Paul George did not even play half of last season, so including him on the list may be premature. Otherwise, he has earned his spot. My top five dominant shooting guards would be Mitchell, George, LaVine, Beal, and James Harden. I also despise Harden, but there’s no denying his greatness.
Beal and Mitchell are very similar. Both are high-volume scorers who are shockingly efficient considering they are the offense, but neither of them plays a lick of defense. LaVine has broken out as one of the most clutch players in the league, and Paul George has remained one of the league’s best players for several years. Personal bias excludes Booker, but if you want to add him, that’s your progitave.
In my mind, Mitchell is right in the middle of those superstars. The team success elevates him above LaVine and Beal, who has been on middling teams as the first option. Paul George can and has put a team on his back, and it’s clear that Booker needs help. The last two seasons have not been friendly to James Harden, but it feels wrong to exclude a great scorer and the only MVP on the list.
Donovan Mitchell has the advantage of being the clear best player on a winning team while putting up insane individual numbers. No one else can make that case, but some players are just better than him, one could argue. That may be the only thing keeping him away from the number one spot.