We May Have Been Too Quick to Consider Donovan Mitchell a Star Player

We May Have Been Too Quick to Consider Donovan Mitchell a Star Player

​​We may have jumped the (young) gun.

Donovan Mitchell burst onto the scene in 2017-18 and was quickly heralded as the steal of the NBA Draft and one of the brightest young talents in the league. Rightfully so, as Mitchell’s ​rookie year was phenomenal.

This year however, he has not shown any signs of improvement, and in fact has looked worse than he did last season. Mitchell’s numbers, at first glance, look almost identical to that of his rookie season. He’s averaging 20.2 points, 3.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game, all of which are right around where he was last season.

It’s his efficiency that has suffered, however.


Mitchell is shooting just 29.7 percent from deep this year, taking 6.6 threes per game. He’s shooting 40.7 percent from the field and is taking 18.4 field goal attempts per game. His volume has increased, while the results have stayed the same.

His PER is right around league average at 13.8. To put that in context, Mitchell is about as efficient as players such as Fred VanVleet, D.J. Augustin, Shabazz Napier and Dewayne Dedmon. Those are guys have never been, and likely will never be, considered star players.

Mitchell is certainly an elite talent, but he needs to work on his efficiency if he wants to avoid becoming an Andrew Wiggins 2.0. Wiggins has a 12.2 PER, despite boasting some of the best raw talent in the league.


While PER isn’t a stat that benefits pure scorers, a mold which Mitchell is looking more likely to fill with each passing game, it’s still an accurate measurement of how efficient players are on the court.

He needs to improve his shot selection and start making more plays for his teammates if he wants to earn the status of a star player.

This article first appeared on 12up.

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