Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell has been dominant in his first eight games of his NBA playoff career. So much so that Los Angeles Lakers legend and all-time NBA great Kobe Bryant broke down Mitchell’s game in his new show “Detail,” available exclusively on ESPN+.
At 21 years old, Mitchell is just old enough to remember Bryant in his prime years. However, Mitchell admitted that he wasn’t a fan of the Mamba growing up.
“I watched it twice already,” Mitchell said of the episode (via ESPN). “The coolest thing about that is I wasn’t a Kobe fan growing up. I didn’t understand how much time and his presence and how hard he worked on his game. Being in my first year in the league, he’s become one of my favorite players to watch and I think that’s the coolest thing.
“I was talking to my teammates about that the other day ... (about) playoff guys and taking over, and Kobe was one of those guys that it didn’t matter what happened. He’d go out there and do it. I watched the ‘09 series against the Jazz over and over again because the way he responded after losing in game three at home and he came out and hit like the first 11 points. That mentality is one that I’m trying to get in myself.”
Mitchell was 12 years old when Bryant and the Lakers beat the Jazz in five games in the first round of the 2009 NBA playoffs. Bryant would go on to win his fourth championship ring and his first NBA Finals MVP against the Orlando Magic.
While Mitchell still has a ways to go before he’s mentioned in the same breath as the Mamba, he’s on the right track. Through his first eight postseason games, Mitchell is averaging 26.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Did I mention he was a rookie?
If I didn’t, he or his team at Adidas will probably remind you.