Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell may not have taken home All-NBA First Team honors this season, but his head coach thinks he was one of the five best players in the league.
Mitchell believes he should have been named All-NBA First Team, and J.B. Bickerstaff agrees.
“[Donovan Mitchell] should’ve been first team… He definitely earned it through the regular season and proved that he was one of the top 5 players this year” 🗣️#Cavs head coach J. B. Bickerstaff on @spidadmitchell#LetEmKnow | #RunItBack pic.twitter.com/R5CivboFiJ
— FanDuel TV (@FanDuelTV) June 6, 2023
Mitchell certainly made a mark in his first season with the Cavs. He was the head of the snake for the team, leading the way to a 51-win regular season.
Individually, he averaged 28.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from beyond the arc. He had perhaps the most memorable performance of the NBA’s regular season on Jan. 2, dropping 71 points in a win.
Mitchell ultimately took home All-NBA Second Team honors this season. The two guards that took home First Team honors over him were Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luka Doncic.
If nothing else, perhaps the four-time All-Star can use the snub as motivation moving forward. He’ll have plenty more chances to earn accolades in the coming years, especially given his age (26).
One part of the 2022-23 season Mitchell would probably like to forget is the playoffs. The Cavs were eliminated in the first round by the New York Knicks and only managed one win in the process.
Mitchell struggled at times during the series, shooting just 43.3 percent from the field and 28.9 percent from deep while turning the ball over 3.8 times per game. The hope for the Cavs is that the series against the Knicks was just a fluke for Mitchell, who has otherwise been a pretty good playoff performer throughout his NBA career.
All things considered, the 2022-23 season was a memorable one for Cleveland, and the team will look to make more progress in the 2023-24 campaign. Next season will provide Mitchell with another chance to take home All-NBA First Team honors, and if he can build off of his strong first season with the Cavs, he’ll likely be firmly in the mix to earn that accolade.
For now, the organization has some offseason work to do and roster decisions to make. The team may have some new faces by the time next season arrives.