Donovan Mitchell has now seen is Jazz got bounced out of the NBA playoffs in the opening round in consecutive seasons, and he appears set on making sure that doesn’t happen again.
Mitchell led the team to a playoff series victory over the Clippers in his rookie season, but the Jazz then ran into the vaunted Warriors, and lost in five games. He’s yet to have really sniffed playoff success since then, though, and it looks like that’s a feeling he misses.
He recently did an interview with The Athletic, telling Tony Jones all about why he doesn’t want to let another one-and-done happen again.
“We went from being an ‘unsalvageable’ team three months ago to this, and I don’t think anybody outside of us expected that,” Mitchell began. “I’m happy with the way we played, obviously not the result. Look man, like, we’ve got things that we know we can fix and like I said, we felt like we kind of gave (away) situations when we had control of the series and we let it get out of hand.
“If you had told us before coming here that we’d have control of the series 3-1 without Bojan, not to say I would have said you were lying, I have complete faith in us, but some of that just didn’t seem, I guess a team like that it didn’t seem as real as it was, but we just got down here and we worked and everybody just locked in, from the rookies to the coaches, but we just got to do more. With Bojan coming back, not putting everything on Bojan, but with him coming back it’s another weapon. This won’t happen again.”
Bojan Bogdanovic’s absence did seem to really hurt the Jazz, as the team was lacking that third scoring option it had with him healthy, in the lineup. The combination of him, Rudy Gobert and Mitchell comprised a formidable force this season. It’ll be interesting to see what moves the Jazz make in the coming months once the free-agent market opens, and if Mitchell can back up his claim.