Tuesday, March 28Welcome

How Donovan Mitchell stepped into a leadership role early in his tenure with the Cavaliers

DETROIT — Donovan Mitchell has always been a dynamic scorer — because of his size, position and pedigree.

His experience was a much-needed addition to a young and surprising Cleveland Cavaliers team, but between last season ending in Utah and arriving in the Eastern Conference, he made some self-assessments. rice field.

The question is, “How can I do better?” Questions and answers are coming in as Mitchell gets off to a good start in his first 19 games.

“I wanted to be a better defender,” Mitchell recently told Yahoo Sports. “Other than that, I know what I can do on the offensive side. To be a better defensive player.”

He is still attacking and playing very efficiently despite adapting to his new surroundings. According to Stathead, Mitchell is averaging nearly 29 points on his 48% shooting percentage, making Steph, along with Curry, the only high-volume scorer in his career to record a 48-40-85 split. (25 points or more).

Now to defense. After years of playing alongside paint swirl Rudy Gobert, Mitchell has two high-level defenders in the interior alongside Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley.

He’s vocal on defense and, above all, tries not to make things tense. The 13-8 Cavaliers rank him fourth in his defensive rating and third in points per game.

Mitchell is listed as 6-foot-1, which limits what he can do against high-level wings. However, he is very athletic and stocky, so activity is very important. Also, he can do amazing things when the team already has an established defensive culture.

Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff told Yahoo Sports: “I mean, he doesn’t just have the easy aggressive stuff you see.”

When the Cavaliers acquired Mitchell weeks before training camp, Bickerstaff called the entire league. Because this is the convention of this very small ecosystem. However, Bickerstaff admitted that there is nothing better than bringing a man into your building.

“I know what type of person he is and what kind of teammate he is,” said Bickerstaff. “He’s the type of leader who communicates with his teammates. All of this has been very impressive.”

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell dribbles against the Toronto Raptors on Nov. 28, 2022 in Toronto.  (Mark Brinch/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell dribbles against the Toronto Raptors on Nov. 28, 2022 in Toronto. (Mark Brinch/Getty Images)

Mitchell pleads with Cedi Osman to “keep shooting” open threes. Because even early on the shot clock it could be the best and only shot available before reaching 911 territory. So did second-year big man Mobley. The more Mobley gets used to extending his range, the better Mitchell and Darius Garland can navigate crowded lanes.

The way Mitchell talked about Mobley, one would think that given Mobley’s enormous potential, Mitchell would have Mobley under his umbrella as a favorite project.

“With Ev, it’s the mindset. It’s about figuring out what you have to do every night,” Mitchell told Yahoo Sports. If you’re going to be, fuck it the right way, fuck it hard.Sometimes the message is stronger, sometimes it’s softer.”

But he’s really into backcourt mate Garland with whom he shares the ball. Garland struggled in late-game situations last season, which isn’t surprising given his relative inexperience despite his All-Star status.

However, Mitchell comes in as a large number of pieces and controls so many possessions in the late game that it’s imperative that he doesn’t isolate himself or isolate himself from his teammates.

Mitchell openly criticized his own shot choices against the Pistons. The Cavaliers struggled early before regaining control in the fourth quarter. Mitchell he went 23-for-9, Garland he went 19-for-4.

They both had to be in the game and against better opponents it could cost them. is better.

Taking accountability sounds like a given, given that everything is public, but for a player like Mitchell, it makes more sense to do so in the early stages of his relationship with the locker room. be.

“I didn’t start the match the way I wanted. I didn’t set the tone, I took some bad stuff [shots]’ said Mitchell in the interview room. “I missed a lot of the players who were open. I have to be good at finding guys. It is the proof that I exist.”

It’s no secret that premier players often act as deputies for management. This can create an uncomfortable living space in the locker room, especially given the pay gap between top players and perhaps someone on a rookie contract.

But Bickerstaff and Mitchell have had many conversations in the past, and Mitchell acts like he’s just another human being.

“One of the things that impressed me the most is that Donovan doesn’t want to be different than his teammates. Donovan wants to be a part of that,” Bickerstaff told Yahoo Sports. “And he embraces that mentality, so it’s like men see him as a peer, yes, and he’s not looking outside the group, so it’s the way he says things.” is easy.

“You know, he’s as close as a member of the group than anyone else we’ve been here, so it makes his job easier. I will listen to him.”

Mitchell said it wasn’t necessarily a conscious effort, but if it was, no one would blame him. That’s because Mitchell will evolve into an inspiring leader who will inspire younger teammates against more veteran competitors in Milwaukee and Boston.

“I’ve always been. No one is above the team,” Mitchell said. “I understand that I have a role.

“Yeah, you might get X points, but at the end of the day, you can’t do your job without great support from your teammates, and your teammates can’t do their work without great support from me. can not. “

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