It’s safe to say this rookie class has been nothing short of amazing compared to previous years, with big names such as Ben Simmons, Jayson Tatum and even Lonzo Ball all proving they not only belong in the NBA, but will be running it in the near future, even if one of them is having a hard time putting the ball in the basket.
One name that slipped under the radar until recently, however, is Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell, who despite his draft position, has been lighting it up for the Jazz early on in his career.
Just last night, Mitchell — who was drafted 13th overall this year — scored a whopping 41 points in only his 23rd game as pro, becoming the first rookie since Blake Griffin back in 2011 to score at least 40 points in their rookie season. Oh, and the Jazz ended up beating the Pelicans 114-108.
The Jazz really lucked out on the youngster, especially when you consider they didn’t even draft him initially.
The Denver Nuggets were the rightful owners of the 13th pick in this year’s draft and selected Mitchell with the pick. But in a bizarre turn of events, the Nuggets decided to trade the 6’3 shooting guard to Utah in exchange for Trey Lyles and Tyler Lydon — two power forwards, the latter of which is currently playing in the G-League.
What makes this trade even more puzzling is the fact that not only did they trade for a big man and then draft one a handful of picks later, they also decided to sign star PF Paul Millsap in free agency, all the while having Kenneth Faried on their roster already, creating a pretty big logjam at the four spot.
Although hindsight is 20/20, the Denver Nuggets have to be tearing their hair out at the thought of a Mitchell and Jokic pairing, something they threw away when they traded away their draft rights to Salt Lake City.