Donovan Mitchell sends message to NBA world as Emoni Bates continues to silence doubters

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, the Orlando Magic defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in a preseason game by a final score of 108-105.

Cavaliers rookie Emoni Bates played well in the loss, however. Bates finished with 12 points and four rebounds in 12 minutes of playing time and made three of his six 3-point attempts against the Magic.

On Friday, Cavaliers star guard Donovan Mitchell took to X (formerly known as Twitter) and sent a message about Bates after his solid outing versus Orlando.

Bates has enjoyed a productive preseason thus far. In Cleveland’s first preseason game against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, he scored 10 points and also chipped in one block and one steal in 14 minutes. The Cavaliers lost that game 108-107, however.

The Cavaliers organization selected Bates with the No. 49 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft following his two-season college basketball stint that included one season at Eastern Michigan University.

He averaged 19.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.5 blocks per game in 30 appearances with the Eagles during the 2022-23 college season. Bates didn’t shoot the ball with great accuracy from the field, however, as he converted just 40.5 percent of his field-goal attempts and 33.0 percent of his 3-point attempts with the Eagles.

Mitchell, meanwhile, is entering his second season as a member of the Cavaliers after spending the first five seasons of his NBA career with the Utah Jazz. The 6-foot-1 guard earned three All-Star nods during his time in Utah and became a four-time All-Star in his first season with the Cavs.

Mitchell’s best game as a Cavalier during the 2022-23 regular season came against the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 2. He scored a career-high 71 points in the game and knocked down 22 of his 34 field-goal attempts, including seven of his 15 shots from beyond the arc. The Cavaliers went on to defeat the Bulls in overtime.

Bates has flashed impressive scoring chops during his two preseason appearances with the Cavaliers. If he continues to impress during the remainder of the preseason, perhaps he will begin the 2023-24 regular season as a member of the team’s rotation.

The Cavaliers’ 2023-24 regular season will tip off against the Brooklyn Nets on Oct. 25.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.