The REAL Reason Why Donovan Mitchell Is SO Good In The NBA Playoffs (Ft. Hands and Passing)
Donovan Mitchell dropped 57 points in the NBA Playoffs, and he’s carrying the Jazz, but why is he SO GOOD? REACTION CHANNEL: usworlds.info/slow/video/i4aGhH2rmql2gos
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So let’s start with the obvious, Donovan Mitchell is athletic. Like dumb athletic. This means he’s able to pull off dunks like in a playoff game. What this also means is that he can get creative in the air with his finishes, able to glide in the air and duck around defenders, but perhaps the biggest strength out of this is that the defense is aware of Mitchell’s athleticism and they are scared of it. But he’s also got something else in conjunction with that and that is his hand size. Donovan is only 6’ 1” yet he has a hand span of 9 and a half inches. To understand that size, looking at the biggest hands in NBA history, Rondo was 15th with a 10 inch span. Yeah 15th of all time at 10 inches so Donovan got big hands, especially at his position.
A lot of times, Donovan likes to pound the ball and do these fake split steps as if he’s about to drive with his head down but then he brings it back. It creates this tension for the defense who aren’t sure when Donovan is about to drive or simply just surveying the whole court. And like right here, he loses the defense because the defense eases up thinking that’s his normal dribble and then he explodes to the rim. What has sort of unlocked this threat even more is Donovan playing point guard. As the point guard, the ball is in Donovan’s hands for a lot longer and more than just that, he has a mentality change, looking to distribute more. It’s as if being the point guard makes Donovan look up more which makes him also appear to be a more versatile threat. Don’t forget that in that 57 point performance, he had 7 assists as well and created a ton of open shots that didn’t fall. So let’s talk about the lesser talked skill that Donovan’s showed, his playmaking. Keep in mind that this game, he started at the point guard spot which means it was on him to run the offense along with Joe Ingles. Some of the passes that Donovan makes are truly incredible. Jump passes are his thing and he really contorts his body in air to make full cross court passes that throw the defense off. Like these are LeBron-esque passes and he be doing that over double teams right into the shooter pockets. But there are moments where he’s making passes that very few can in the league. Combine that with his tight handles and Donovan has the makings of an elite point guard. He has pretty much got every type of crossover in the book, the normal tight crossover, he has the push crossover which gets him going downhill. He has the jab crossover that throws defenders timings off.
This athleticism also allows him to do something pretty useful with his jumpshot and that is to jump with his feet in very different positions. And then he squares up in the air on his way up and has a strong follow through. This allows him to shoot out of rhythm but still be in rhythm. One application of that is a skip step into a jump shot which is great since defenses will go under screens or drop at the threat of the Donovan Mitchell drive.
It’s different from a hop into the three like this which is still effective. This is a variation, a jab into a shot which is more difficult. To then raise up as high as Donovan does so that the release point is high is impressive. This comes from pretty strong leg strength. Like I said dumb athletic. But that dumb athleticim isn’t just used for layups. Think about a guy like Russell Westbrook who raises up to shoot, but now imagine if Westbrook shot on the way up instead of at his apex. At least in terms of verticality, I made that comparison to illustrate that being late to contest on Donovan’s shot usually means you can’t get up in time despite being taller. This is literally how Donovan Mitchell raises up above defenders which makes a guy like Jeremi Grant sorta obsolete since he’s not quick enough to move and he’s going to be late to jump.
Now is there stuff the Jazz offense is doing as a whole that helps everyone including Donovan? Yeah, but Donovan been carrying and he’s been taking the next step. He’s been making subtle improvements each year and it’s starting to come together even more. So let’s give Donovan the proper due respect. But what do you think? Will the Jazz win the series? Is Donovan taking the next step?