Donovan Mitchell has put up the best season of his young career and one of the top individual seasons in Cleveland Cavaliers history. That’s not where his head is at, though.
Mitchell tallied his 10th game of 40 points or more this season against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday. That matched LeBron James for the single-season franchise record. It was just one of several NBA records and milestones he achieved all on the same night. He also hit the 10,000-point plateau faster than anybody else has since Dwyane Wade did it over a decade ago while standing alone as the fastest to do it with 10,000 three-pointers.
And yet two words summed up how Donovan Mitchell felt about the evening.
“We lost,” the Cavs guard said.
“I’m always honored to be in that category. But at the end of the day, I wish it came with a win, that’d be bigger for me,” the Cavs guard continued. “Trying to find ways to be the best player I can be. I always knew I was this good. It’s just a matter of contributing to winning basketball. Playoffs are coming. If I score 40 in the playoffs, and we lose, we’re going home. There are different things I could have done and we all could have done. That’s pretty much what’s on my mind right now.”
With the Cavs trying to catch the Philadelphia 76ers for the third seed and a possible matchup against the Brooklyn Nets (aka the team they reportedly want to face), every game matters down the stretch.
Cleveland may have their best years ahead of them thanks to a young core, but Donovan Mitchell doesn’t think it’s too early to compete for the big prize. Winning games in late March could help to win games in mid-April as the team tries to be one of the few left standing for May and even June.
Mitchell may have tied LeBron for Cavs history, but his eyes are clearly on emulating King James’ 2016 feat instead.