In the latest episode of FanDuel’s weekly NBA show ‘Run It Back’, the crew looked back on Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell’s return to his former home, the Utah Jazz.
Mitchell has been in incredible form since arriving in Cleveland from Utah the past summer and has put himself in contention to win this season’s MVP trophy.
The 6’1 shooting guard has been on a scoring hot streak as of late, most notably dropping a historic 71 points this year against the Chicago Bulls, the highest game points tally since 2006 when the late Kobe Bryant famously scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors.
Ex-NBA veteran Chandler Parsons believes that Mitchell’s return to Utah created a special environment against the team that drafted him with the 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft, revealing players’ care when it comes to facing a former team.
Parsons: “I had this in my career in Houston, it’s where you started especially against the team who drafts you that’s a special place. These games definitely mean more than just any other game.
“You knew he (Mitchell) was going to play well. I thought the Cavs were going to dominate and win the game, but the Jazz really showed me something.”
The Jazz were unanimously expected to have one of the worst records in the league this season after trading Mitchell and Rudy Gobert this past offseason, but have defied expectations to be within 1.5 games from an automatic playoff position.
Eddie Gonzalez views Utah’s form this season as a surprising welcome, but he believes that other teams will be looking for the Jazz to start trading some of their better players for picks to increase their draft capital this summer.
He said: “You watch this team and completely understand why fans of other teams are licking their chops hoping that they blow it up.”
However, NBA inside reporter Shams Charania views this Jazz squad as a team that can still compete for a playoff spot and rebuild with the large amount of draft picks they obtained last summer.
Lauri Markkanen has been a revelation for Utah this season and is likely to be named an All-Star for the first time in his career.
The panel also highlighted Jordan Clarkson, Walker Kessler and Jarred Vanderbilt as players who have delivered in Salt Lake City this season.