Donovan Mitchell knew his second year in the NBA would be a lot harder than his unexpected breakout as a rookie.
So, the 22-year-old spent his summer picking the brains of the League’s best and brightest.
Having turned their season around following a poor start, Mitchell and the Utah Jazz are primed for the playoffs.
Per Sports Illustrated:
“This year, it’s different. I have to be locked in for every moment, they make it so tough on every possession,” Mitchell told The Crossover. “But the words I’ve received from James [Harden], from Kobe [Bryant], Chris Paul, it’s helped me understand that. I think in my rookie year, I was really taken aback. This year I came seeking advice.”
Utah’s offense sagged with Mitchell’s inefficiency, and Ricky Rubio took a step back as well. The Jazz closed 2018 with a losing record, sitting 11th in the West at 18–19.
“Coach [Quin] Snyder stressed to me that this year was going to be a lot different, and it was one thing for me to hear, and another thing for me to go through it,” Mitchell said regarding Utah’s poor start. “It’s one of those things you really have to go through, to experience. They kind of anticipated this happening, I didn’t. But to have the support of my teammates through the early part of the season was really special, and really helped get us back to where we need to be.”
Mitchell is preparing for the next decade in Utah, growing a contender from the ground up into the 2020s. With the help of some household names, Mitchell says he’s now ready to go from rookie sensation to bankable star.
“It’s been a crazy past two years, trying to absorb everything I’ve learned,” Mitchell said. “We’ve got a healthy lineup, and one that can be pretty special. Now we’ve got to prove it each and every night.”