After a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Western Conference this past season, the Utah Jazz flamed out in the playoffs, losing to the Dallas Mavericks in six games in the first round.
The Mavs were inferior to the Jazz on paper, especially considering that Luka Doncic missed the first three games of the series due to injury.
The loss seemed to trigger a dismantling of their roster, as head coach Quin Snyder left and All-Star center Rudy Gobert was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for several future draft picks.
Fellow All-Star Donovan Mitchell was reportedly dismayed about the direction of the team, yet the Jazz seemed to not even be willing to entertain any trade offers for him.
But on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Jazz may have changed their tune.
After previously shutting down inquiries on moving All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, rival teams say the Utah Jazz are showing a willingness to listen on possible trade scenarios, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 12, 2022
One team that has been rumored to have interest in the three-time All-Star is the Miami Heat, and they should do whatever they reasonably can to get him if he’s available.
The Heat Need Another Offensive Star
Over the last three years, Miami has been one of the better teams in the NBA, and during that span, it has reached the Eastern Conference Finals twice and the NBA Finals once.
But it hasn’t been able to get over the hump, mainly because it doesn’t have enough offensive punch.
In Jimmy Butler, the Heat have perhaps the best closer in basketball, but other than guard Tyler Herro, who won the Sixth Man of the Year award, they lack anyone else who can force the issue and consistently get his own shot.
This problem was exposed in the East Finals weeks ago versus the Boston Celtics, as they scored under 100 points in three of the final four contests.
Point guard Kyle Lowry, whom Miami acquired last summer, was thought to be the final piece for the team, but he has clearly declined and is injury-prone.
The Heat ranked 10th in offensive rating and 17th in points per game in 2022, and those are two stats that need to improve if they’re to hang their fourth championship banner.
Mitchell would be a game-changer for them.
Mitchell Is A Force
The 6-foot-1 guard has his critics, as some feel he is nothing more than a gunner who doesn’t do anything else at a high level other than score.
However, Mitchell is one of the most effective scorers in pro basketball.
He may not be a dead-eye 3-point shooter, but his career accuracy of 36.1 percent from downtown is more than adequate, and his true shooting percentage of 57.2 in 2022 was strong.
Mitchell will get you about 25 points a game in the regular season, but he has a history of taking things to a higher level in the playoffs.
When the Jazz lost to the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2020 postseason, he averaged 36.3 points a game on 52.9 percent overall shooting and a sizzling 51.6 percent from beyond the arc.
In that series, he had two 50-plus point games and a 44-point outburst.
Players with more 50-point playoff games than Donovan Mitchell:
That’s it. pic.twitter.com/1dVJmUCtW6
— StatMuse (@statmuse) July 12, 2022
The following year, he averaged 32.3 points per contest as Utah made it to the second round of the playoffs, and although he put up “only” 25.5 points a game in the 2022 playoffs on poor efficiency, he did drop at least 32 points in each of the first three contests versus Dallas.
Most playoff PPG by active players:
32.5 — Luka Doncic
29.4 — Kevin Durant
28.7 — LeBron James
28.3 — Donovan Mitchell pic.twitter.com/qAfnSIzSIo
— StatMuse (@statmuse) July 12, 2022
Mitchell may not be a true superstar, but with Miami’s championship-caliber culture and dedication to hard-nosed defense, he could be just what it needs to get to the next level.