By leading a surge that put the Utah Jazz in the playoffs, Donovan Mitchell thrust himself into the Rookie of the Year discussion that had been dominated by Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons.
The two have traded barbs, both verbally and in the form of clothing, all the while leading their respective teams into the second round. They each have been nothing short of outstanding, though Mitchell made rookie history with a prolific performance in Game 6 in the first round.
Mitchell didn’t fare quite as well against the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, but he was the focal point of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant’s latest episode of “Detail” on ESPN+.
That type of attention from a five-time champion not only was exciting for Mitchell but enlightening as well, via Eric Woodyard of Deseret News:
“To have a guy like that analyze my game and he was talking as if it was me, which is kind of cool, but there were times where he was basically saying ‘that can’t happen, this can’t happen,’ and I’m laughing because he’s right,” Mitchell explained. “They can’t push me off my spot.
“I can’t catch the ball at half court and little things like that, that you don’t understand until a guy like that breaks it down and the way he broke it down made so much sense and you guys should definitely check it out.”
Mitchell tied for a team high with 21 points in the Game 1 loss, but he shot just 9-for-22 from the field and only made one of seven attempts from deep.
Thus far, Bryant has used “Detail” to analyze his performance in Game 6 of the 2009 Western Conference Finals, and film of Toronto Raptors All-Star DeMar DeRozan after this year’s Game 1 against the Washington Wizards.