SALT LAKE CITY — Don’t tell your kids, but Donovan Mitchell’s improved play of late can in part be attributed to him getting more screen time.
This screen time doesn’t include Roblox, Fortnite or Minecraft, though.
Mitchell said he’s been watching more game film since around Christmastime. Judging how well he’s played of late, including five straight games with 26 points or more, this screen time is paying off.
Mitchell experienced somewhat of a sophomore slump to begin his second season in the NBA, and he wanted to delve into the details of his game to break out of it.
“I’ve always been watching film,” he said, “but I think now more so than ever it’s just kind of understanding the game, understanding where I get my looks or understanding where I get guys open.”
Watching film has helped him help his teammates get better shots and himself, he believes.
“Like repetitions on the court, the more you see stuff, the more it makes sense,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “If you see something, you get a chance to work on it. In some ways, the study simplifies it.”
Snyder said it can remind you of your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Mitchell, at times, was tripping over making the right play instead of aggressively attacking, which is his forte.
“If he starts trying to think too much about his teammates, that’s not the right thing,” Snyder said.; “He’s going to help his teammates more if he’s attacking.”
NETO TOO?: Raul Neto is the latest Jazz point guard to be sidelined with an injury. He joined Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum in the training room after experiencing a left groin strain during Wednesday’s comeback win over Orlando.
Snyder didn’t divulge when Neto got hurt — right after his first- and second-string teammates — but said it happened during the game and the Brazilian playmaker finished the game while playing with adrenaline.
Neto will be re-evaluated at some point next week.
“You can’t rush it,” Snyder said.
PLAYOFF RACE?: The Lakers came into Friday’s matchup two full games ahead of the Jazz for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
That was news to Mitchell, who said he's not going to pay attention to where the Jazz are positioned for the postseason for a couple more months.Comment on this story
“I didn’t know that until you just said that,” Mitchell told a media member who asked about the Jazz trailing the Lakers in the playoff standings at the morning shootaround. “I haven’t looked at the standings pretty much all year. I really don’t until about March toward the end of the season. Right now it’s just about us getting better.”
For the record — spoiler alert in case Mitchell is reading this article — Friday’s 113-93 blowout win brought Utah (22-21) within one game of L.A. (23-20).