On Tuesday, just over a week after he scored 71 points in an overtime win against the Chicago Bulls, Donovan Mitchell will return to his old stomping grounds of Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Jazz.
He spent the first five seasons of his NBA career there, and it was where he made three All-Star teams and established himself as a star and one of the game’s more explosive scorers.
After the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Phoenix Suns 112-98 on Sunday, Mitchell was asked about going back to his old basketball home.
“I don’t know what the response will be. I hope it’s cheers,” Mitchell said.
Since he had that 71 point-performance on Monday, Mitchell has come down to earth a bit.
Even though he scored 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting on Sunday, he struggled when the Cavs lost to Phoenix at home on Wednesday, going just 6-of-20 from the field, and he sat out their Friday loss to the Denver Nuggets.
While in Utah, Mitchell averaged 20.5 points a game during his rookie season and was named to the All-Rookie First Team, but it was two seasons later when he served notice to the rest of the NBA.
Even though the Jazz blew a 3-1 series lead in the first round of the playoffs to the Nuggets, he put up 36.3 points a game while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 51.6 percent from downtown.
Donovan Mitchell is turning 25 today. His playoff series vs. the Nuggets in the bubble will always be incredible 🤩
🕷 36.3 PPG
🕷 52.9 FG%
🕷 51.6 3-PT FG% pic.twitter.com/qO7MTf4yuF
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 7, 2021
Mitchell has raised his game this season with averages of 28.8 points a game on 48.8 percent overall shooting and 40.5 percent from beyond the arc, and if anyone doubted he was a major difference-maker, those doubts have subsided.