Three weeks ago, Shaq made comments to Donovan Mitchell that he is probably regretting today. At the time, the Jazz were having an unexpected amount of success, and they did not require Mitchell to be a one-man show. Shaq made these comments after Mitchell’s 36 point game against the Pelicans. Now, Mitchell joins Rudy Gobert as two-time NBA All-Star selections.
After not reaching the All-Star game for his first two seasons, Donovan Mitchell has now become a back-to-back all-star. Mitchell is in the middle of his best professional season, in which he is averaging career-highs with 24.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. Mitchell has been leading the way for the top-seeded Jazz, and has overcome his early struggles.
Flashback to Chicago: 2020 All-Star Game
In last year’s game, the Utah superstars were picked to play together. Mitchell and Gobert were both members of Team Giannis. Although Team Giannis ended up taking the loss, both Jazz players left their impact on the game.
Gobert was the highest scoring player in the third quarter of the game and finished the night with 22 points and 11 rebounds. His hot third-quarter was capped off with a Trae Young alley-oop with 2.2 seconds remaining in that frame. With a new structure for that All-Star game, the fourth quarter ended in dramatic fashion as Anthony Davis’s walk-off free throws gave Team Lebron the victory.
Although this All-Star game was abnormal when compared to previous years, it brought a newfound level of competition that most games did not bring. The All-Star games are always known to be missing defense. However, last year’s game was competitive game until the final whistle blew.
Although Mitchell did not have as electric of a night as Gobert, his seven points, five rebounds, and four assists were surprisingly not the lowest production Team Giannis saw from a bench piece.
Utah Jazz All-Snub Team
While it was almost certain Mitchell would make the All-Star reserves, many questioned whether or not Rudy Gobert would have a spot.
While spots for Gobert and Mitchell seemed realistic, were Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley robbed of first-ever All-Star selections?
After a disappointing first season in Utah, Conley has shown fans why he was worth the trade. Conley is averaging 16 points per game, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists. His efficiency has risen compared to last year. He is looking like the Conley of old. He is one of the best plus/minus players in the league.
NBA analysts forgot to mention Conley when discussing who deserves to be in the All-Star game. However, the 33-year-old point guard has made a good pitch to have a spot. Conley has always been known as one of the better players to never make the all-star game, and this streak unfortunately continues.
Jordan Clarkson has been amazing since coming over from Cleveland. Analysts like Charles Barkley believed he was All-Star worthy this year.
Since arriving in Utah, Clarkson has supplied the Utah bench with some much-needed scoring. The frontrunner for Sixth Man of the Year has been averaging a career-high 18 points off the bench. Clarkson could have joined Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, and D’Angelo Russell as former Lakers draftees to make the All-Star game after leaving the team.
Although Chris Paul has played his way to another All-Star game appearance, both Conley and Clarkson have made their cases as to why they should be lacing up in Atlanta. It would not be a surprise if Conley or Clarkson find themselves heading down to play if an already selected All-Star either decides to sit out or is forced to forfeit his spot due to injury.
Jazz Reserve for MVP
The All-Star game is supposed to be played on March 7, 2021. Team Lebron and Team Durant are planning to face off in Atlanta. The last reserve to win the NBA All-Star MVP was Russell Westbrook in 2015. Hopefully, we can see Gobert or Mitchell hold the All-Star MVP trophy at the end of the game.
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