In a conversation with Sam Amick of The Athletic, Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell reflects on the team’s disappointing post-season and talks about his ankle injury.
The Utah Jazz had a great 2020-21 regular season, topping the NBA table with 52-wins. The team led the league in rebounds and 3-pointers made. While Rudy Gobert was crowned DPOY for the 3rd time, Jordan Clarkson was the 6th man of the year.
Unfortunately, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell suffered an ankle sprain in April, keeping him out for a considerable time period. However, the Jazz held the fort, maintaining their 1st position on the NBA standings.
Donovan Mitchell got helped to the locker room after an awkward landing
Hope he’s OK 🙏 pic.twitter.com/SpiD0DZYqF
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 16, 2021
Spide Mitchell would return for the highly anticipated playoffs and put up some staggering numbers with his performances. The 2x All-Star averaged 28.5 PPG, 5.8 APG, 1.3 SPG on a 45.0% shooting from the field, and 40% from the 3-point line against the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round.
However, Mitchell’s ankle injury would be a cause of concern in the Jazz’ series against the LA Clippers. The Spida would be seen in discomfort and even exited early during Game 3.
Donovan Mitchell cites injuries as a major reason for Jazz’s underperformance in the 2021 playoffs.
The Jazz looked in complete control of their series against the LA Clippers, winning the first 2 games. In a surprise turn of events, they would lose the next four games to the Clippers, leading to their exit.
While talking about Jazz’s underperformance to Sam Amick of The Athletic, Mitchell said,
I’ve kind of got to a point where I’m appreciative of the injury for myself,” Mitchell said. For my personal growth on and off the floor, I think that injury really — and you know me, Sam, like I love jumping through, around you or over you — (but) that injury kept me on the ground for the entire playoffs, and it allowed me to have to make decisions on the ground. Slow it down. Different things that really opened things up to (where) I was like, ‘OK, this is another level, (a) layer of my game that I can get to without (the athleticism).
The Jazz guard spoke about his recurring ankle injury stating that he is good to go for the upcoming season. Spida Mitchell added that had the team been 100% healthy, they would have had a strong chance to make it to the NBA Finals.
The ankle feels good. I’ll be ready to go. I think last year definitely was shaky. There were just so many different obstacles with the ankle and whatnot, but — like I said — no slight to Phoenix or Milwaukee or the Clippers, you know, (but) I feel like if we were healthy, you know, we, we get to the Finals.
To make a fair argument, the Clippers struggled with injuries as well. Kawhi Leonard suffered a season-ending injury during Game Four of the semi-finals. However, Paul George and co took matters into their own hands, defeating the Jazz in 6 games.
One cannot outright deny Mitchell’s claims. However, the 2021 playoffs had major stars of the league succumbing to injuries. Thus blaming health as a reason for failure diminishes the credibility of the current champions Milwaukee Bucks.