Donovan Mitchell

Jazz Notes: Conley, Mitchell, Gobert, Toughness

Jazz All-Star point guard Mike Conley made his first appearance in the second-round series against the Clippers in Game 6. Conley admitted after the Jazz were eliminated on Friday that he was far from 100% due his hamstring tightness, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets.

“Initially, I was told I wasn’t going to be able to play at all this series, just last Friday,” Conley said. “This maybe being the last game of the season, I had to give it a try. But I couldn’t move well. It was a tough night.”

Conley, an unrestricted free agent this summer, scored just five points on 1-for-8 shooting and committed six turnovers in the 131-119 loss.

We have more on the Jazz:

  • Conley’s backcourt partner, Donovan Mitchell, was also a game-time decision due to an ankle injury. Mitchell poured in 39 points and nine assists but his 40-minute stint was painful in more ways than one, Walden tweets“It (bleeping) hurt. Just tried to play through it. … I was just trying to find a way, by any means necessary,” he said.
  • Losing the last four games of the series and squandering a 25-point lead in Game 6 will haunt Mitchell, Walden adds in another tweet. “I’m still in shock. … I don’t know what I’m going to be doing next week,” he said. “Probably watching the games, mad as hell. This hurts more than last year. This is going to eat at me for a long time.” However, Mitchell isn’t blaming the coaching staff for the collapse, according to Walden (Twitter link). “The coaches made great adjustments. And we just didn’t execute,” he said. “That’s on the players on the floor.”
  • Rudy Gobert believes the tougher team won the series, Walden relays (Twitter link). “They were the tougher team over the course of the series, more connected over the course of the series,” he said of the Clippers. “For us, it’s pretty much the story of our season. For us to take another step in the playoffs, a lot of things are gonna have to be better.”
  • Picking up on Gobert’s theme, Tony Jones of The Athletic opines that the Jazz are probably not near a championship-level team despite having the league’s best record. Playing without Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers turned up the intensity in the second half of Game 6 and the Jazz failed to match their physicality and got out-hustled.

Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell Will Start In Game 6

8:40pm: Mitchell and Conley are starting Game 6, according to lineups posted by the Clippers’ PR department.


11:05am: With their season on the line in tonight’s Game 6, Jazz point guard Mike Conley is “working toward a return to the lineup,” tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Backcourt partner Donovan Mitchell will be a game-time decision, Woj adds.

Conley has missed the first five games of the series with a strained right hamstring that he suffered in the close-out game against the Grizzlies. He had originally hoped to return for Game 3, but he re-injured the hamstring, which set back his recovery timetable. Conley is coming off his first All-Star season and averaged 16.2 points and 6.0 assists per game during the year.

Mitchell is dealing with a sprained right ankle that forced him to miss the last 16 games of the regular season, along with Utah’s playoff opener. He was in obvious pain during Game 5, shooting just 6-of-19 from the field, and admitted afterward that the ankle is limiting what he can do on the court.

If the Jazz win tonight, they will host Game 7 on Sunday.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell, Conley, Gobert, Game 5

After a Game 5 loss to the Clippers Wednesday night, Jazz star Donovan Mitchell admitted his right ankle has become more painful throughout the series, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Utah is on the verge of elimination after letting a critical game slip away at home, and Mitchell wasn’t able to play his normal style. He finished with 21 points, his lowest scoring total of the postseason, and made just 6-of-19 shots from the field.

“It’s something I’m going to have to deal with,” Mitchell told reporters after the game. “… I ain’t got nothing else to say. Like, it’s tough when you’re trying different things that you normally do and you see spots you can get to, but you can’t, so you got to find a way to make it happen. It’s tough, but I got to find a way. Otherwise, I’m going to be home.”

Mitchell, who had a string of six straight 30-point games before Wednesday, is still feeling the effects of an ankle sprain that caused him to miss the final 16 games of the regular season and the playoff opener against Memphis. He  said he has aggravated the injury several times during the series with the Clippers.

“For most of my life, I’ve been able to push by, explode by, and jump through people or over people, and for the first time in my career, I’ve had to play on the floor,” Mitchell said. “Knowing when to attack, picking my spots, finding my teammates, I think that’s the biggest thing, being able to kind of get off, hit them when they’re doubling me and engaging the blitz. And I think I did a solid job of that. I can do better. It’s a learning process and it sucks that I’m learning this through the playoffs, but it is what it is and no excuses.”

There’s more from Utah:

  • Mike Conley had “a small setback” in his recovery from a strained right hamstring, but he still hopes to return before the series ends, according to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Conley, who was hurt in the final game of the first round, said he had been preparing to play in Game 3, but he re-injured the hamstring before that could happen. “This is why it’s been extended a bit longer than I know we all would like. Obviously, if I could play, I would — there’s no question about that,” Conley said. “But the progress we’re making now is really good. It’s just a little delayed.”
  • The Jazz have been relying on their skill level all season, but it will take grittiness to win in Los Angeles and return home for a Game 7, states Tony Jones of The Athletic. Rudy Gobert suggested that his team got too relaxed after a fast start Wednesday. “I didn’t feel like there was a sense of urgency for us defensively at the beginning of the game,” he said. “In a way, I wish we hadn’t made so many shots. Then, we would have thought about playing better defensively. We let them get comfortable. And when we let a team this good get comfortable, you put yourself in a tough position either way.”
  • Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer examines how Mitchell has been able to turn himself into a dangerous three-point shooter and what it means for his game going forward.

NBA Announces 2020/2021 All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced the All-NBA First, Second, and Third Teams for the 2020/21 season, with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way as the lone unanimous selection for the First Team.

Antetokounmpo and Nuggets‘ MVP Nikola Jokic were the two top vote-getters, combining for 998 out of a possible 1,000 points, with Warriors guard Stephen Curry following shortly behind. Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic rounding out the top five.

The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Giannis scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Among the players who just missed the cut were Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (69), Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (44), Nets guard James Harden (41), Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (37) and Heat center Bam Adebayo (32). A total of 12 other players received votes. The full results can be found here.

Today’s announcement has major financial implications across the league. Tatum, who received more votes than Kyrie Irving but still fell 20 votes short of a final forward spot, will lose out on a projected $32.6MM on his rookie scale extension, as his next deal will start at 25% of the cap instead of the 30% he would have received if he’d been named to an All-NBA team. Likewise, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox and Adebayo will all receive starting salaries worth 25% of the cap on their respective extensions as a result of missing out on All-NBA honors.

Doncic, having been named to his second consecutive All-NBA First Team, will be eligible for a 30% extension that would be worth a projected $201MM+ and is almost certain to be offered this summer. Doncic has previously made clear his intentions to sign the extension when offered. It will go into effect for the 2022/23 season.

Embiid is now eligible for a super-max contract extension, which would run for four years, starting in 2023/24, and would be worth a projected $191MM, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. It’s unclear whether the Sixers will immediately put this extension on the table this offseason.

Bradley Beal‘s deal will not change with his first career All-NBA selection, as he is already eligible for a 35% contract extension on his next deal. Jokic, having been named MVP previously this week, also sees no change in his possible future super-max extension, which will be worth approximately $241MM.

Hoops Rumors readers accurately picked 12 of this season’s 15 All-NBA players in our poll. Devin Booker, Adebayo, and Tatum were your picks who didn’t make the official list.

Donovan Mitchell Leaves With Sore Ankle, Says He’ll Be OK For Game 4

Jazz star Donovan Mitchell had to leave Saturday’s game midway through the fourth quarter because of pain in his right ankle, but he says it won’t keep him out of Game 4, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Mitchell has been dealing with discomfort throughout the playoffs after suffering an ankle sprain that forced him to miss the last 16 games of the regular season. It hasn’t affected his performance, though, as he has averaged 32.2 points per game during the postseason, including 30 in Saturday’s loss.

“It’s when I land,” he told reporters after the game. “It’s been just trying to manage it. I don’t really know what else to tell you; I don’t want to say too much. It was just the landing, but I’m good. I’ll be ready for Game 4.”

Mitchell limped toward the locker room with 7:05 left in the quarter, then returned to the sidelines and talked to coach Quin Snyder. Mitchell said he could have returned to the game, but the score had gotten out of hand and a decision was made not to risk further injury.

Snyder confirmed that Mitchell would have been able to play if the game had remained close.

“He’s in good shape,” Snyder said. “He could have gone back in the game, but at that point, the lead had stretched. In fact, while we were talking, I think Kawhi (Leonard) hit a 3. That was my decision not to put him back in at that point. The game had gotten away from us at that point, but he’s fine.”

Instead, Mitchell watched the final few minutes with ice on his ankle. Even with the loss, the Jazz are up 2-1 in the Western Conference semifinal series and have a chance to take a commanding lead with a victory in Monday’s Game 4.

“Obviously, it’s not going to be 100 percent, but you go out there and you try to compete,” Mitchell said. “Things like this are going to happen. You just got to find ways to manage it and get out there and get ready. It’s not going to be perfect, but it is what it is.”

Jazz Notes: Conley, Mitchell, Gobert, Clarkson

Mike Conley is listed as questionable for Saturday’s Game 3 of the Jazz’s second-round series against the Clippers, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets. Conley suffered a right hamstring strain in the series finale against the Grizzlies on June 2nd. The Jazz have used a three-guard rotation of Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson in his absence while winning the first two games of the series.

We have more on the Jazz:

  • Mitchell tweaked his right ankle in the closing seconds of Game 2 but he says he’ll be ready to go on Saturday, Tim MacMahon of ESPN writes. Mitchell missed Utah’s playoff opener with a right ankle sprain, the only game the Jazz have lost in this postseason. “I got hit and it hurt, but I’m fine now,” Mitchell said. “I walked in here (to the interview room). If you want me to sprint for you, I can. I’m good.”
  • Rudy Gobert won his third Defensive Player of the Year award and he says that being an elite defender requires plenty of dedication, according to Sarah Todd of the Deseret News. “It takes relentless dedication every day,” Gobert said. “In this league, we have so many games, being able to stay healthy and being able to stay strong, being able to try to bring it every single night for my team, it’s a challenge. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication and things that people don’t see.”
  • Clarkson is averaging 21 points in the series and he’s victimizing his former mentor, Joe Vardon of The Athletic notes. Clippers coach Tyronn Lue was Clarkson’s coach in Cleveland during the 2017/18 season. “He talked to me about all of this, how to carry yourself in the playoffs, how to move in the playoffs, what to do, finding a routine,” Clarkson said of Lue. “It’s strictly competing, but seeing him over there, that’s somebody you care about before he was doing that. Ty Lue has always been talking to me, texting me, he’s been in my ear even before he was in Cleveland.”

Jazz Notes: Conley, Mitchell, Gobert, Arena Capacity

Jazz guard Mike Conley exited game five of Utah’s series against the Grizzlies due to right hamstring soreness after playing just 12 minutes. But despite being frustrated by the setback, he feels confident he’ll be back in round two, whether against the Clippers or Mavericks, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News.

It’s playoffs, so my mindset is I’ll be ready to play,” Conley said. “We’re gonna just see what happens in next few days and be smart about how we approach it going into this next series.”

Conley bounced back from a rocky first season in Utah, in which he was dealing with a similar hamstring ailment, and had averaged 20 points and over 10 assists per game in the first four games of the series. With at least four days between the end of the Grizzlies series and the start of round two, the Jazz can afford to be cautious.

The veteran point guard was scheduled to undergo an MRI this morning, per Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • When Donovan Mitchell went down with an ankle injury on April 16, he channeled his frustration by diving back into preparing for the playoffs in the same way he did during the Orlando bubble from last year, reports ESPN’s Jackie McMullan. One person who was crucial to his preparations for this year’s playoffs was new minority owner Dwyane Wade, who has served as a mentor figure for Mitchell for years. “You are trying to attack from so many different angles, but you can attack it from one angle if you are patient,” Wade counseled.
  • Rudy Gobert sits down with Shams Charania of Stadium to discuss being a number one seed, championship expectations, and playing with Mitchell. “Every year we had to earn, and earn, and earn the respect as a team, and earn every single win, and you know, we’re still going to have to earn this championship and you know, the story will be amazing,” Gobert said.
  • The Jazz announced Thursday morning that they’ll be increasing attendance at Vivint Arena to its full 18,306 person capacity for round two of the playoffs, the largest NBA crowd of any game this season, writes Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News. The arena will limit some lower bowl attendance around the team benches, but will make up for it with increased standing room only capacity. Masks will still be mandatory.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell, Snyder, Fan Incidents

In limited minutes, Jazz All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell looked like his old self Thursday night, his first game back since spraining his right ankle on April 16, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Mitchell scored 25 points in 26 minutes of game action.

The 24-year-old’s return to the floor helped galvanize the Jazz. Utah ultimately beat the Grizzlies 141-129 to knot their first-round series at 1-1.

“I felt better than I anticipated, and as a whole, I think the biggest thing as a team is we did a lot of good things tonight … so it made my job easier,” Mitchell said of his return to the Jazz. “I didn’t have to come in and just do everything. I was able to find my spots and attack. And kind of just do what I do. And my teammates made it really easy for me.” 

There’s more out of Utah:

  • Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune examines the circuitous journey Jazz head coach Quin Snyder undertook before landing in Utah. Snyder had stints with the now-Austin Spurs of the G League (then the Austin Toros of the D League), the Sixers, the Lakers, CSKA Moscow, and the Hawks. He began his journey from the college ranks to the pros in a cross-country adventure in a 2002 Volkswagen Eurovan, after his seven-year tenure as the men’s basketball head coach for Missouri ended in 2006. “I was in North Carolina living by myself, I had a great black Lab, and I was trying to figure out, kind of, ‘What next?’ And, the (next) question is, ‘Where?’ And ‘What?’” Snyder said. “And I came to the conclusion that, really, it was like, ‘Anywhere,’ because it really didn’t matter at that point. And it was a little bit of ‘Anything.’ I wasn’t sure I wanted to coach again.”
  • During the Jazz’s Game 2 victory over the Grizzlies, Vivint Arena security ejected three fans for unruly verbal behavior directed toward the parents of star Memphis point guard Ja Morant, writes Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The team has banned the individuals from Utah’s home arena indefinitely.
  • A Utah judge has rejected a $100MM lawsuit filed by two other Jazz fans against Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook and the Jazz, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The fans, who claimed defamation and infliction of emotional stress in their suit, had also been banned indefinitely for comments and taunts directed towards Westbrook, then with the Thunder, in a March 2019 Jazz game.

Western Notes: Mitchell, Popovich, Kings, Brewer

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell confirmed that he was shocked by the team’s decision to hold him out of Game 1 when he thought he’d be playing, as Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune writes.

“I was frustrated and upset,” said Mitchell, who has missed over a month with a right ankle sprain. “I was ready to go. I was ready to go.”

s tell Tony Jones and Sam Amick of The Athletic that Mitchell had hoped to make his return late in the regular season and was already irritated by the delay, so Sunday’s decision only exacerbated his frustration. The Jazz, who didn’t want to risk a re-aggravation of the injury, felt that holding him out for one more game – resulting in three extra days of rest – was the best move for Mitchell’s health and safety, per Jones and Amick.

Having been cleared to play in Game 2, Mitchell said on Monday that he’s ready to move past the situation, tweets Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Still, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his latest Hoop Collective podcast that some damage has been done to the relationship between the Jazz and their All-Star guard.

“Is it damaged to the point where it can’t be repaired? I’m not saying that,” Windhorst said, per RealGM. “Is it something that they’ll get past and he’ll just move on and it will just be a blip on the radar screen? Maybe. Maybe they’re in The Finals in two months and who cares? Maybe they win the next four games and it’s totally forgotten. But right now, Donovan is hurting. He’s really hurting the way this happened.”

As the Jazz look to even the series in Game 2 on Wednesday, Mitchell said there have been no discussions yet about him facing a minutes limit in his first game since April 16. The 24-year-old said he wants to be smart, but added that he’s prepared to play all 48 minutes if necessary, tweets Jones.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • It remains unclear whether Gregg Popovich will decide to continue coaching the Spurs in 2021/22, writes Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News. As Finger details, the longtime Spurs coach said last week that there would be “a lot of time” to figure out what’s next, so it could still be weeks or months before the team makes an announcement.
  • The Stockton Kings, in search of a new head coach, are interviewing candidates from Sacramento’s coaching staff , per Sean Cunningham of ABC10 Sacramento (Twitter link). Bobby Jackson, Lindsey Harding, and Jonah Herscu are receiving consideration to coach the Kings’ G League team, sources tell Cunningham.
  • Former NBA wing Corey Brewer, who joined the Pelicans as a player development coach last fall, wrote for BasketballNews.com about transitioning from playing to coaching and what he learned in his first year in the new role. Brewer also shared some thoughts on several of New Orleans’ young players.

Donovan Mitchell To Return For Game 2

Jazz star Donovan Mitchell will be available to play in Game 2 vs. Memphis on Wednesday, the team announced today.

Mitchell – who was a full participant in practice on Monday, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link) – missed Game 1 on Sunday and hasn’t played at all since April 16 due to a right ankle sprain.

We’re still more than 48 hours away from tip-off in Utah, so there was no urgency to announce a decision on Mitchell right away. However, with reports indicating that the 24-year-old was angry at the team for holding him out of Game 1, today’s announcement may represent a step toward easing tensions.

Based on those earlier reports, it sounds like Mitchell’s own trainers and the Jazz’s training staff may not have been on the same page regarding his readiness. Mitchell spoke on Sunday as if he would play in Game 1 before Utah officially ruled him out.

Facing a 1-0 defect in their series against the Grizzlies, the Jazz will welcome the return of their leading scorer. Mitchell averaged a career-best 26.4 points to go along with 5.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds in 53 games (33.4 MPG) in 2020/21.