Donovan Mitchell seems destined to become a multiple All-Star in the NBA. That’s saying a lot, considering how many great guards there are in the West, i.e. Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler, James Harden, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook.
Barring injury, Mitchell will get there soon enough.
But an online poll accompanying my column comparing Mitchell’s popularity to Carlos Boozer’s triggered some Twitter blowback. What kind of poll is this? Is this for real?
As though it's a ridiculous question.
Mitchell will have a considerably better career, I expect. But everyone tends to think in terms of what happened in the last five minutes. Boozer made two All-Star teams. He averaged 20 points a game three times in his career, 16.2 overall. He also averaged 9.5 rebounds. Those aren’t slouch numbers.
Boozer wasn’t nearly as athletically gifted, but he was difficult to guard.
On the negative side, he was a terrible defensive player.
But until Mitchell starts making All-Star and All-NBA teams, it’s a reasonable question. Right now, Andrei Kirilenko, Mark Eaton and Jeff Hornack have more All-Star appearances than Mitchell. Mitchell’s career should eclipse theirs, in that context, but declaring him an all-time great this early is making a lot of assumptions.
Mitchell has already set a number of rookie records. That’s impressive, considering the company: Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James, etc. But in the long term?
Let’s wait on making him NBA history until it happens.
The level-headed Mitchell would even agree with that.