The Utah Jazz once again have a very good team. Currently in the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference, they'd get a home playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks if the season ended today and then a likely second-round matchup with the Phoenix Suns, who like the Golden State Warriors and — if you squint hard enough — the Memphis Grizziles are the class of the conference. How far Utah goes is inextricably tied to how far Donovan Mitchell carries them. And all indications are that's pretty far as the live-wire point guard has proven time and time again he's capable of taking games over.
But behind the scenes, it sounds like all is not copasetic with the Mitchell-Jazz relationship. Ric Bucher reports that there's "incessant buzz" that those in Mitchell's circle believe he is too big of a star for Salt Lake City, with one scout going so far as to say the player is a first-round exit from bouncing to New York.
Now, that's certainly a juicy angle. Discontent and drama is the fuel on which the NBA runs on and there's enough evidence to suggest internal friction more often than not results in unrealized expectations. One would understand why Mitchell would grow frustrated with constantly falling short in the playoffs.
At the same time, the notion that he's too big of a star for the market is a bit confusing. Especially when one remembers that the reigning champion resides in Milwaukee. If Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn't too much of a superstar for the Bucks, why would Mitchell be too big for Utah? The allure of the Knicks always turns out to be more attractive on paper than in practice so players looking to rebuild the Mecca should approach such a task with healthy skepticism.
The Jazz have been aggressive in bringing in power players with winning pedigrees to guide decision-making. Danny Ainge and Dwyane Wade each decided they weren't too big for the market and seem hard at work.
Interesting report. And not one that makes much sense.