Cleveland Cavaliers newcomer Donovan Mitchell has been scary good in his first seven games for the team. Former Cavs champion Channing Frye recently revealed what he has noticed about the positive changes in the former Utah Jazz star’s game.
“For him to score 30 like that is two things,” Frye recently said on his podcast. “Number one, he’s getting good shots. And I’ll say this — Donovan Mitchell to me as a player on Utah was a little piggy. He was so hungry and thirsty for shots. He was like, ‘Give me the ball. Give me the ball.’ He is playing real basketball and shooting efficiently where it equates to winning. And I love that for him. And I love that for the Cavs.”
The 6-foot-1 guard has become known for his scoring prowess since entering the league in 2017. However, one of the knocks on Mitchell’s game is his inefficiency from the field, as Frye alluded to. During his time with the Jazz, Mitchell converted just 44.1 percent of his shots from the field.
Mitchell did post 23.9 points and 4.5 assists per game in five seasons in Utah. However, one can only wonder if he could have recorded better numbers if he had displayed better shot selection.
Early in this campaign, the University of Louisville product has been making 48.1 percent of shot attempts. His stats are also up, as he is posting 31.1 points and 7.1 assists per contest through seven matches.
A possible reason why Mitchell has seen his numbers and efficiency rise is that he is playing with more dynamic offensive players on the Cavs.
For instance, he registered nine dunks in the first seven games of this season. He never was able to have that many dunks in the first seven games of a season while with the Jazz.
The stat may be indicative of how much space the former No. 13 overall pick from the 2017 NBA Draft has to operate on offense now that he is not playing with Rudy Gobert anymore.
Donovan Mitchell first 7 games of the season (throughout his career)
2017-18: 2 dunks (0 misses)
2018-19: 3 dunks (0 misses)
2019-20: 5 dunks (2 misses)
2020-21: 2 dunks (0 misses)
2021-22: 2 dunks (2 misses)
*no more Gobert*
2022-23: 9 dunks (1 miss) 👀
— Extra StatMuse (@extrastatmuse) November 3, 2022
Interestingly, Anthony Edwards, who is now teammates with Gobert on the Minnesota Timberwolves, had yet to dunk the ball after multiple games this season.
The highflier attributed that to not having a good lane to slam the ball, and some people around the league saw it as a subtle shot at how the Wolves roster is constructed.
Cavs fans are likely hoping that Mitchell can continue his strong start to the season, which has helped Cleveland go 7-1 early on.
The team is currently second in the Eastern Conference and has been looking like a strong contender thanks to Mitchell’s performance as well as those of other Cavs players.