The Utah Jazz of recent seasons are a constantly questioned team. The status of aspirants who have been won with basketball and many victories is always questioned on television sets and gatherings of all kinds. There is no episode more representative than Shaquille O’Neal’s infamous statement to Donovan Mitchell after he was victorious against New Orleans on a national television game. “You don’t have what it takes to take the next step.” Which goes to say that no matter how many games they win in the regular league, the playoffs are too much. Which also translates into questioning Rudy Gobert’s defense even if he fills his hall with the Defender of the Year awards. But Mitchell, as he already demonstrated that January night, does not think the same.
At the exact point between the reflection for the past season and the excitement for the start of the next, the guard has conceded an interview to Sam Amick for The Athletic in which he contradicts the general discourse again. “I feel like being healthy we would have made it to the finals and could have won the championship.” The Jazz blew a two-game lead in their series against the Clippers, but this was marked by the physical loss of Mitchell and the absence of Mike Conley also due to injury. Obviously, the young player’s words are mere assumptions, but they do not sound far-fetched considering the circumstances. In fact, physical health has been one of the big reasons for the unpredictability that has surrounded the last postseason.
Mitchell also took the opportunity to scare ghosts, redouble his belief in the current franchise project and see the positive side of his ailments. “I love to physically go over my rivals. But I think this injury has made me grow as a player. Pain has kept me grounded every playoff. Force myself to slow down. I have reached new facets in my game that I would not have reached without the injury ”. Donovan is mostly referring to his improvement as a more temperate organizer, which, in addition to injury, has led to Conley’s lack of command.
(Cover photo by Alex Goodlett / Getty Images)