There’s no denying that Donovan Mitchell is one of the most explosive scorers in the NBA today. This is exactly why the Cleveland Cavaliers gave up a major haul just to bring him to the team. It’s also a known fact, however, that Mitchell isn’t exactly the best defender out there.
The three-time All-Star himself acknowledged this weakness in his game. Now that he’s joining a defense-first squad in the Cavs, Mitchell admits that he’s been working hard on trying to elevate this facet of his game (via Kelsey Russo of The Athletic):
“We worked on a little bit of it today, and you got two 7-footers rotating and scrambling with you, it’s kind of like pick your poison,” Mitchell said Wednesday. “But being able to guard and being on the ball and I definitely have to improve on that, but I think we’ve got a talented group that wants to work out and we’re only going to get better at it. And J.B. is going to hold us accountable for that. But when you have a group that’s fit for defense, that’s what’s first, and everything else comes after that. And for us, we have talented ground, and I’ll just look to add to that.”
A lot will be expected from Donovan Mitchell now that he’s joined the Cavs, and it goes without saying that improvements in his defensive abilities are going to be one of the aspects of his game that’s going to be placed under a microscope.
The most important thing for Mitchell, however, is the fact that he’s acknowledged his shortcomings. This is always the first step in improving your craft, and the 26-year-old seems to be on the right track in this regard.
Whatever the case may be, though, it’s Mitchell’s prowess on the offensive end that makes him a cornerstone piece for the Cavs. This is exactly what he hopes to bring to the table once the new season starts:
“For me, being able to use my scoring and find my ways to create plays and get guys open shots and then let Darius do what he does, Caris (LeVert) do what he does, and be able to be a decoy as well over there in the corner and let them get open lanes, and Ev and JA finding the roll man,” Mitchell said.