The rising Utah Jazz guard experienced quite the learning curve while transitioning into his second full NBA season.
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell recently visited The Crossover while in the midst of the late-season road trip on the east coast.
The Crossover crew brought the up-and-comer in to discuss what it’s like to be a second-season player in the NBA.
Watch the video from The Crossover’s post below:
What’s Different for Donovan Mitchell?
After a stellar rookie season which included a first-round playoff victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder and former MVP Russell Westbrook, Donovan knew things would be far more difficult in the years to come. In contrast, year two has been a new experience for the Sophomore.
“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.”
That teachability is just the beginning of a long process aimed at avoiding any “sophomore slumps” that might have been heading Donovan’s way. He also had to learn, very quickly, what it means to hold and be held accountable by teammates.
Donovan Mitchell on Overcoming This Season’s Slow Start
After a slow start to the season, the team needed Donovan to step up. Furthermore, to retain the leadership role he had earned the year before.
“Coach 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.”
So… what exactly did Donovan change about how he was playing this season? And how did it help the team get back on the winning path?
“Changing my pace and making an effort to get to the free-throw line, that’s something James [Harden] is great at and Dwyane Wade talked to me about as well,” Mitchell said. “To hear that from them and then trying to follow their advice really helped me get back on track.”
What’s To Come for Donovan Mitchell?
In conclusion, Donovan Mitchell may have learned some big lessons and have even bigger plans in his future. However, right now his only focus is on this season’s playoff push.
“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.”