Confetti rained in the Toyota Center, as a disappointed Donovan Mitchell could only watch in disappointment while the home team celebrated.

Limping with an Adidas slide on his left foot, and a gray Dame 4 sneaker on his right foot, the Utah Jazz rookie met his friend and mentor Chris Paul near center court for a hug.

Mitchell injured his foot in the fourth quarter of Game 5, as the Houston Rockets would close out the Jazz 112-102 in the Western Conference Semifinals.

“Even though I was out, I can’t just sit in the back. I want to be with my teammates throughout the entire thing, but it’s tough sitting there watching but they fought and they competed,” Mitchell said after scoring 22 of his team-high 24 points in the third quarter. “Obviously, we’re unhappy with the result, but we’re happy with everybody as a whole.”

For Mitchell, his stellar rookie campaign was over. His remarkable year marked the beginning of a new era in Salt Lake City.

In 10 months, Mitchell’s life has taken a 180-degree turn. For those following, his rise has become legendary as the subject of many profiles starting with a pre-draft workout at the Jazz practice facility last summer.

“As you look back at it and say, ‘OK, you had an inkling of what he could do but we’re all surprised what he did,’” said Walt Perrin, Utah’s vice president of player personnel.

After Mitchell’s sophomore season at Louisville, both Paul and Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George convinced the athletic prospect to turn pro.

Mitchell was drafted 13th overall by the Denver Nuggets before getting traded to the Jazz, then he lit up the Las Vegas Summer League but struggled mightily in his first five games, hitting 25 percent from the floor before …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


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