clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell sees this offseason as summer of separation entering Year 3

Donovan Mitchell, of the Utah Jazz, embraces his fans after event where the pedestrian bridge spanning 100 south, at The Gateway in Salt Lake City, is named after him on Tuesday, March 26, 2019.
Donovan Mitchell, of the Utah Jazz, embraces his fans after event where the pedestrian bridge spanning 100 south, at The Gateway in Salt Lake City, is named after him on Tuesday, March 26, 2019.
Steve Griffin

SALT LAKE CITY — Social media videos of Donovan Mitchell actually in the gym during workouts have been few and far between this summer.

And that’s by design.

“A lot of it’s been understanding that I can take care of what I have to take care of off the floor but still getting my work in,” Mitchell told the Deseret News on the first day of the Salt Lake City Summer League.

“Last year it was so many great learning lessons," he continued. "And this year I’m blessed to be in this opportunity, but I’ve got to work to get there and stay there and that’s really my mindset. I’m not really posting all over the place, I’m just working, getting in the gym and doing what I’ve got to do and that’s going to help.”

After a 5:59 a.m. workout on the official release date of his first signature shoe, the D.O.N. Issue #1, Mitchell showed up to Vivint Arena Monday evening with teammates Dante Exum, Georges Niang, Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles to see the Jazz host the Memphis Grizzlies wearing a pair of the red, white and blue kicks.

Saturday, he will leave for a worldwide trip to Asia, France and Germany with Adidas.

“I’m just looking to enjoy my first shoe tour,” Mitchell said, smiling. “I’m really excited to have this happening. The reception I’ve got with my shoes so far has been incredible and I’m just keeping it going.”

In the midst of all the national attention he’s receiving through his endorsements, the University of Louisville product has also been in the gym adding different dimensions to his game. His summer training was limited after his rookie campaign due to a left foot injury, so he had to work himself into shape midseason of his sophomore act.

This summer, he’s spent some time in Los Angeles, but the bulk of his offseason has been spent mostly in his home state of New York, where he sees it as a summer of separation.

Famed NBA trainer Chris Brickley has been one of his go-to guys, even posting a recent video of Mitchell perfecting his mid-post game, which is something former Jazz great Darrell Griffith has been advising him to add to his repertoire.

“He came to Louisville (recently) and I met him down at my restaurant and we talked a little bit,” Griffith said. “He said he was excited about his new shoe. I’m happy for Donovan.

“That was a good move getting Mike Conley because it takes a lot of pressure off Donovan because Conley can ball,” he added. “I seen that trade and I said, ‘That’s a good move.’”

In addition to the much-publicized Conley trade that’ll clear on Saturday, which sent Grayson Allen, Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver and two first-round draft picks to Memphis, the Jazz also agreed to sign Indiana’s Bojan Bogdanovic and former Nets center Ed Davis on the opening day of free agency.

In the midst of those deals, Ricky Rubio agreed to a three-year, $51 million deal with Phoenix, Raul Neto was waived to clear cap space for the Conley trade, and veteran big man Derrick Favors was traded to New Orleans for a pair of second-round picks.

Although experts are predicting the Jazz to finish near the top of the Western Conference in 2019-20, the squad will look completely different.

“It’s definitely different but I’m going to miss my guys,” Mitchell said. “I talked to all of them and I think it’s tough to see that in this business, especially with my guy Grayson because this is his first time going through it. Ricky, Jae, Kyle, Favors — they kind of know how it goes, but Grayson especially is the guy I’ve talked to a lot with just wishing him the best, but I’m excited for what we’ve got going forward. We’ve got Mike, Bojan, we’ve got Ed, and those guys are really key to what we’ve got going on and I’m excited.”

Mitchell will also attend Team USA’s national team training camp Aug. 5-9 in Las Vegas. He hopes to earn a spot on the final 12-man roster for the FIBA World Cup in China, but his goal is to come back to Utah a much-improved player.

“A lot of it, I’m just keeping it to myself with just being a better playmaker and a better player overall, being more efficient, and those are the obvious things, and then being in better shape,” Mitchell said. “Hopefully making the USA team will help with that.

“I’m not putting too much pressure on myself because that’s when things get out of hand, but I’m just taking it day by day. Being in one spot has helped me, being back in New York,” he continued. “I’m just finding ways to get better.”