Despite Donovan Mitchell making an All-NBA team for the first time in his career last season, former Cleveland Cavaliers big man Channing Frye doesn’t think he can be the best player on a championship team.
“On the court, Donovan Mitchell is what Donovan Mitchell is,” Frye said. “… I don’t think Donovan Mitchell can be your best guy on a championship team.”
In his first season with the Cavaliers, Mitchell recorded 28.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game while knocking down 48.4 percent of his shots from the field and 38.6 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. He made All-NBA Second Team for his efforts, though he believes he did enough to make the first team.
Although the University of Louisville product was able to lead his team to the playoffs with a 51-win regular season, he wasn’t able to take them far. The Cavs looked outmatched against the New York Knicks in the first round and lost the series in five games. Mitchell wasn’t really himself and looked out of sorts for the second straight postseason.
Perhaps Mitchell’s series against the Knicks is why Frye doesn’t think the four-time All-Star can be the best player on a championship team.
The good news for Cleveland is that it has plenty of other talented players on its roster that still have room to grow. Evan Mobley is entering his third NBA season. The Cavs expect big things from him and plan to give him an expanded role on offense in the upcoming campaign.
Starting point guard Darius Garland could easily still improve a lot and has shown himself to be one of the craftiest players in the league.
The 2023 playoffs were undoubtedly disappointing for Mitchell and the Cavs, but it should serve as a valuable learning lesson for the entire squad.
Due to Cleveland’s offseason acquisitions like Georges Niang and Max Strus, the squad has some strong believers out there. Mitchell will certainly be looking to quiet Frye and the rest of his doubters in the upcoming campaign.
Winning an NBA title would go a long way toward those efforts.