The Cleveland Cavaliers have benefited immensely this season from the contributions of star guard Donovan Mitchell.
Indeed, Mitchell is one of the prime reasons why the Cavs sit comfortably at the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
According to Mitchell himself, former Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder is a big reason why he is the kind of player that he is today.
“I owe him a lot,” Mitchell said. “I’m forever grateful of Quin Snyder. He’s a hell of a coach and is going to have a lot of success here in Atlanta. […] He’s a guy that literally gave me the ball and trusted in me, in a 20-year-old, 21-year-old who didn’t prove anything yet, just went out there and tried to continue to climb. When you have someone like that who trusts you, I’m forever grateful. And he really helped me get to be the player that I am today.”
Following the Cavs’ close loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night, Mitchell and Snyder reconnected on the court.
Quin Snyder and Donovan Mitchell reunited. pic.twitter.com/rzvwuoKDFL
— Bally Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnBally) March 29, 2023
It was a great moment to witness. Mitchell made it clear that the two have remained close even after Snyder parted ways with the Jazz and the star guard was traded to Cleveland.
“A lot of it’s deeper than just basketball with him,” Mitchell said. “I’ve had so many life conversations just about anything and everything. I told him it was about time he came back. The game missed him.”
When Snyder agreed to become the Hawks head coach in February, Mitchell was seemingly pretty excited.
“That relationship is strong,” Mitchell said. “No matter what happens in life, no matter what, he’s always a guy I can call and talk to about anything. Not as much now because that’s tampering, so I gotta put that out there. He’s a guy that I can definitely talk to, and I appreciate him and his family as well.”
In an interesting twist of fate, it now seems possible that the Cavs and Hawks could eventually meet in the playoffs. The Cavs have already clinched their playoff spot, and the Hawks seem destined to advance to the play-in tournament.
If things shake out the right way, the two teams could face off in the second round of the playoffs.
Mitchell has been transcendent in his first year with the Cavs, averaging 27.6 points, 4.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. He’s hit an impressive 47.6 percent of his field goals.
Now, he will look to do something in the playoffs that he was never able to accomplish with Snyder and the Jazz: make it past the second round.
At the moment, it seems likely that the Cavs will face the New York Knicks in the first round. The two teams have faced off three times so far this season, and the Knicks have won two of those contests.
The two teams will face off one final time in the regular season this Friday. That game will definitely have a playoff feel to it.