After an outstanding rookie season for the Utah Jazz, Donovan Mitchell is adding more hardware to his trophy case.
On Wednesday night Mitchell received the 2018 ESPY Award for Best Breakthrough Athlete, his third award received this offseason after being selected as the NBA Players Choice Rookie of the Year and being named unanimously to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. Mitchell beat out his Rookie of the Year race competitor Ben Simmons to take home the award.
During his acceptance speech, Mitchell said, “Don’t let anybody put limits on what you can do. People love to do that nowadays. Go out there and have fun and enjoy it. Enjoy life. Enjoy your passion, whatever it may be.”
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) July 19, 2018
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 19, 2018
During a spectacular rookie campaign, Mitchell averaged 20.5 point per game, 3.7 rebounds per game, and 3.7 assists per game while leading the Utah Jazz to 48 wins and the 5th seed in the Western Conference just one season removed from Gordon Hayward’s departure. He turned it up in the playoffs, leading the Jazz to the semifinals after beating Oklahoma City, which included a 38-point effort in a series-clinching Game 6 win.
During the season, Mitchell set the new NBA rookie record for three pointers in. a season, and also participated in NBA All-Star Weekend, playing in the Rising Stars Challenge and putting on a show in his Slam Dunk Contest victory. Mitchell was also named the Western Conference rookie of the Month four straight times from December through April.
After a record setting season and just 21 years of age, Mitchell has Jazz fans excited about the future of his career and the team after an unexpected 2017-18 season. With free agency and Summer League now concluded, the Jazz look forward to beginning the 2018-19 season, looking to repeat their success of the past season led by Mitchell and Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. Only time will tell if the Jazz continue their upward trajectory in a loaded Western Conference.