For most NBA players, an injury is nothing but a negative thing in their careers.
However, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is singing a different tune.
In a recent interview with The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Mitchell discussed how he’s now “appreciative” of his injury and how it forced him to expand his game:
“I’ve kind of got to a point where I’m appreciative of the injury for myself,” Mitchell said. “For my personal growth on and off the floor, I think that injury really… kept me on the ground for the entire playoffs, and it allowed me to have to make decisions on the ground. Slow it down. Different things that really opened things up to (where) I was like, ‘OK, this is another level, (a) layer of my game that I can get to without (the athleticism).”
During last year’s playoffs, Mitchell was noted to be battling an ankle injury, but looking at his numbers, you’d never think it was bothering him. Over the course of the 10 playoff games he played last season, Mitchell averaged 32.3 points, 5.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 43.5 percent from three.
Mitchell also showed why he was an All-Star during the regular season, averaging 26.4 points and 5.5 assists per game as he continued to demonstrate his growth as a playmaker and shooter. Suffice it to say, his play was a primary factor in the Jazz winding up first-place in the Western Conference standing with an league-best 52-20 record.
As he continues to emerge as one of the NBA’s best young talents, Utah will only go as far as their electrifying star will take them. Nonetheless, if his mindset is any indication of what to expect, the Jazz can trust that he’ll continue to lead their franchise in the right direction.