Having completed his move from the Utah Jazz to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Donovan Mitchel is ready and waiting to take to the court in his new colors. His future has been discussed for some weeks, and an endless stream of possible trades has come to an end, with the 26-year-old now ready to make his mark for J.B. Bickerstaff’s team.
The Cavaliers, who have been out of the play-off picture for four seasons, will hope that Mitchell can push them in the right direction, perhaps even to the point of securing a first NBA title since the days of LeBron James.
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Mitchell can’t wait to get started and is very excited about life with the Cavaliers but did comment on the fact that he almost got traded to the New York Knicks, his hometown team;
“It would have been nice,” Mitchell commented on the prospect of a move to the Madison Square Garden team.
“But for me, once I found out, I got traded, and what we’re going into, that trumped everything. I’m truly excited to be here, be part of this group, be part of this city.”
Mitchell enjoyed five successful seasons at the Utah Jazz, helping the team to the playoffs in each season and securing three NBA All-Star picks in the process and a move to the Cavaliers gives him a chance to grow as a player, and comparisons have been made with their former star, LeBron James.
“There are going to be expectations, there’s going to be noise, but how can we be the best team we can be?”
“It’s five-on-five basketball. Doesn’t matter how many cameras or how many people are watching. It’s five-on-five basketball and just do the little things — continue to grind, continue to get better.” Mitchell added.
Understandably happy about the trade, it’s worth noting that J.B. Bickerstaff was apparently caught out cold when the move was completed;
“It was kind of a curveball when it happened.”
“We had had our coaches’ retreat and put a plan in place, so we had to make some changes. But we’ll make it work.”
Bickerstaff has proven a success in Cleveland over the course of two full seasons as head coach. In his first season, he showed some sign of progress, albeit only a slight improvement in their win percentage and no nearer to play-off action.
Last season he took a side that secured 22 regular season wins and doubled it, but the 44-38 record wasn’t quite enough to book passage to the post-season, and they slipped out of the play-in tournament after losses to both the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks.
With Mitchell on board, the Cavaliers look like a much better prospect, and they may well find themselves challenging for a spot in the playoffs for 2022/23.