SALT LAKE CITY — There was a chart floating around Twitter this week that showed the impact rookies are making on their teams early in the 2017-18 NBA season.
Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell was an outlier — and not in a good way.
The NBAmath.com data revealed that in his first week, the lottery pick cost the Jazz 24 points of offense while also having a negative effect (minus four points) on the defensive end.
The 6-3 guard, who’s filled in at point guard and gotten extra minutes because of Rodney Hood’s calf injury, is only shooting 25 percent from the field so far. He’s been abysmal from beyond the 3-point arc too, hitting just 16.7 percent out there.
If you can imagine, Jazz coach Quin Snyder has some thoughts. (Spoiler alert: They weren’t of the “SIT THIS ROOKIE DOWN!” nature, either.)
“If we’re going to evaluate a rookie after five games, most of the time if you do that, you’re going to see about what you’re seeing with Donovan,” Snyder said.
Snyder would rather focus on things like what Mitchell did in the fourth quarter against the Clippers when the 21-year-old scored 15 of his 19 points to spark a Jazz rally in an eventual loss.
“Donovan’s challenge is to continue to be aggressive,” Snyder said. “The worst thing he could do is stop shooting because his percentage isn’t what we want it to be. He’s got to take good shots.”
Snyder acknowledges that Mitchell needs to evaluate some of his shots, but he’s not taking away his green light.
“He’s taking some hard shots and maybe there’s an opportunity to find someone and make a pass,” Snyder said, “but if Donovan’s not attacking the rim right now we don’t have a lot of guys that have that ability to get on the rim.
Sometimes his misses — hopefully future makes — are the best shots the Jazz can get on a given possession.
“It’s the same thing,” Snyder said. “I’d rather have him shoot a three than try to make a play and turn the ball over.”
STARS-BOUND: Rookie center Tony Bradley was reassigned to the Jazz’s G-League team on Friday. The 6-foot-10 North Carolina product, selected 28th overall in the 2017 draft, has not made his NBA debut yet. He averaged 4.0 points, 1.5 rebounds and 9.8 minutes in four preseason showings.
“Tony’s looked good in a lot of stuff that’s he’s doing,” Snyder said. “Rudy (Gobert) went to the D-League (now G-League) when he was a rookie. There’s nothing attached to that other than the fact that we want to get (Bradley) minutes. We feel good about the way he’s been playing in practice and when he did play in the preseason, too, so it’s good.”
COMING ALONG: Rodney Hood admitted he was worried he might have suffered a worse injury when he stepped on Karl-Anthony Towns' foot a week ago. He left that game and ended up missing the next two games with a mild calf sprain.
“My Achilles (tendon) was hurting pretty bad. I couldn’t really feel anything back there,” Hood said. “I tried to put weight on my toes and it just hurt, a real sharp pain throughout my calf.”
Hood continues to get treatment and will play through the soreness.
“I’ve got the range of motions back and that’s all I really need,” Hood said. “I can get through the pain. I’ve got to be able to move my foot.”