Former Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kendrick Perkins offered his opinion that Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell is better than two other top guards, Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns and Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics.
Kendrick Perkins: "With all due respect to Devin Booker and Jaylen Brown, when it comes to being the best shooting guard in the league, that is Donovan Mitchell… He is right there top 5, top 6 in the MVP conversation. He is the best SG in the league." pic.twitter.com/e6TtEfCH9S
— Oh no he didn't (@ohnohedidnt24) March 24, 2023
Perkins, who is now an NBA commentator for ESPN, offered his thoughts during the network’s weekday program “NBA Today” during a discussion of the upcoming postseason. In his remarks on Mitchell, he noted the guard’s leadership skills have clearly become evident this season.
Mitchell was traded to the Cavaliers during the past offseason in a blockbuster deal with the Utah Jazz. Despite the high cost to acquire him, Mitchell’s on-court performance has made the risky deal a winner for the Cavs.
In 63 games this season, Mitchell has averaged 27.5 points, 4.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. That scoring average is the best on the team, with his 71-point performance against the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 2 marking his top scoring effort on the year.
Mitchell’s point production has worked well in tandem with his fellow starter in the Cavaliers’ backcourt, Darius Garland. In Garland’s case, he’s averaging 21.7 points, 7.8 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game and continues to elevate his game in his fourth NBA season.
Perkins played for both the Celtics and Cavaliers during his NBA career, though his tenure with the Celtics was lengthier. His elevation of Mitchell over Brown may rub some Celtics fans the wrong way, though Perkins has never been reluctant to step on toes, if necessary.
Brown is in his seventh NBA season, all of them with the Celtics. This season, he’s been in peak form, averaging 26.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
That level of production is one reason why the Celtics have compiled a record of 50-23, which is currently the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. Entering Friday night’s action, the Celtics stand just 2.5 games out of the best record in the conference.
In the case of Booker, he’s in his eighth season with the Suns and has averaged better than 20 points per contest since his second year in the league. This season, in 45 games, he’s averaging 28.1 points, 5.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per contest.
Booker’s presence on the court for the Suns is why they’ve been among the top teams in the league in recent years. This season, Booker’s absence might help explain why the Suns have only 38 wins in 72 games, the fourth-best record in the Western Conference.
In the end, Perkins’ opinion is undoubtedly not a universal one. However, one certainty is that the Cavaliers likely fully agree with his remarks.