The NBA finally returned on July 30 with two games that were both close games. The Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans battled in the first game with the Jazz winning 106-104. But the big topic that night was Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell.
He brought a bulletproof vest to the game, and he displayed it during the post-game interview.
Donovan Mitchell has become a top player in a short amount of time
Mitchell made his first All-Star team during the 2019-20 NBA season in just his third year. The Denver Nuggets originally drafted Mitchell in the first round of the 2017 NBA draft, but the Jazz traded to get him that night. As a rookie, Mitchell put up some impressive numbers and showed why he was one of the best rookies in the league. He averaged 20.5 points, 3.7 steals, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. During that season, Mitchell had two games where he scored 40 points and became the first rookie since Allen Iverson to have two 40-point games. He was named to the All-Rookie First Team. He also was the 2018 Slam Dunk Contest champion.
The next season Mitchell continued to play at a high-level on a Jazz team, one of the top teams in the Western Conference. Early in the 2018-19 season, Mitchell scored a season-high 38 points in a 100-89 win over the Houston Rockets. Mitchell displayed his explosiveness and his ability to knock down shots. It did not take long for him to adjust to the NBA. He finished the 2018-19 averaging 23.8 points, 4.2 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Mitchell got off to a hot start in his third season. He’s the team’s leading scorer averaging 24.1 points through 64 games. The 23-year-old is becoming the face of the franchise, and he has a good group of players surrounding him. He has one of the best defensive players in the league in Rudy Gobert and a veteran point guard in Mike Conley. Mitchell’s game will continue to improve over the years, and he has what it takes to be a top 10 player in the league.
Donovan Mitchell helps lead his team to a victory in the first game of the NBA restart
Mitchell played an impressive game for the Jazz scoring 20 points with five rebounds and five assists. The Jazz had a big fourth-quarter scoring 27 points while holding the Pelicans to 17. Toward the end of the game, Mitchell hit some big shots for the Jazz to help maintain the lead.
Mitchell made a big play during the final seconds of the game to help the Jazz secure the victory. With the ball in his hands, he was able to drive to the hole and force the defender to step up and guard him, leaving a wide-open Gobert. Mitchell made a nice pass to Gobert, who was fouled and was able to make both free throws to give the Jazz a two-point lead. Mitchell created that whole sequence, and that play gave the Jazz the victory.
Donovan Mitchell making a statement after the game
There was a reason why Mitchell brought a bulletproof vest with him to the game. In light of the things that have occurred regarding police brutality and social injustice, Mitchell made a statement with his vest. Names were displayed on Mitchell’s vest of people who died from police brutality and police violence.
“It doesn’t matter what your job is, what your name is,” Mitchell said to Turner Sports’ Taylor Rooks. “Being able to wear a bulletproof vest just shows we kind of have our hands up as well, just kinda like hands up, don’t shoot. We’re tired of seeing this. … We’re sick and tired of being afraid.” With the NBA returning, many players will continue to speak out about social justice and police brutality, and they will continue to use their platform to spread awareness.