If we go back in time and look at the 2017 draft teams would be ashamed of themselves for letting Donovan Mitchell fall as far as he did. A few players drafted in front of Mitchell are, Josh Jackson, Jonathan Isaac, Zach Collins, and Malik Monk. Those are just a few names as Mitchell was drafted 13th overall by the Utah Jazz. The order of a redraft of the 2017 draft would be extremely different, Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, and Jayson Tatum aren’t on the same level as Mitchell at this point. Mitchell is the leading scorer on the 5th seeded Jazz in the western conference.
Since the New Year has begun, Mitchell is averaging 28.6ppg., now I get it, he’s the star, he is their best player. Well no one told Jayson Tatum to be average this year only scoring 15.8ppg. Yes, I get it, Kyrie is there and they have such a deep team. If he was the star everyone thought he would be after last year’s playoffs I believe he would’ve taken over a few games by now. Lonzo Ball has been injured, and still has no jump shot and isn’t comparable to Mitchell. De’Aaron Fox has taken a step forward this year, however they are missing the playoffs this year and he can’t score in ways Donovan can. Lauri Markkanen has shown bright spots this year, but is inconsistent and not on the same level. John Collins and Kyle Kuzma have shown they have talent and should’ve been drafted much higher than they were, but still not the player Mitchell is. There truly isn’t a player as skilled as Mitchell in this class.
People will argue the Jazz have a solid team to surround Donovan Mitchell, but is he still not the best player on his team? Rudy Gobert is obviously a force on defense, but he isn’t near the threat that LeBron, Kyrie, or Buddy Hield are on offense. Joe Ingles is a solid player and gives the Jazz great spacing, but again other players have more talented guys on their team.
The way Mitchell leads this team game after game as just a second-year player is incredible to watch. Mitchell had a stretch of 35 games a little bit ago, where he averaged 27ppg on only 6 FTA per game, on 45/40/80 splits, and the Jazz went on to go 25-10 in those games. If the Jazz won only 20 of those games, they would be sitting outside of the playoffs right now.
I agree that Donovan wasn’t a can’t miss college player, but his skill set, how well he can shoot, and finish at the rim speaks for itself. It is clear that NBA teams will regret not taking Mitchell sooner than the 13th pick, but the Utah Jazz are set up for success and I hope they continue to build around him. To sum this up, Mitchell would be a clear cut #1 pick in a redraft of the 2017 class, unless one of the other players really make a jump, or become more consistent I can’t see anyone outperforming Mitchell from this class.