Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (a former University of Utah star) are both big pieces of a 2017 NBA draft class that produced some of the league’s best talent.
But are Mitchell and Kuzma overrated?
In a piece written by The Ringer’s Dan Devine earlier this week, he argues that of all the players in the league, they are the most overrated relative to the team situation they are in.
Devine notes that the descriptions of “overrated” and being in a “great situation” are “left open to interpretation by the electorate,” but nevertheless, Mitchell and Kuzma are the top players on a list of five that also includes Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe, Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray and Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook (feel any better, Jazz fans?).
Of Mitchell, whom is No. 2 on the list, Devine writes in part, “Of the dozen qualifying players whose usage rate topped 30%, Mitchell ranked 10th in true shooting percentage and last in assist percentage. And as Mitchell’s offensive responsibilities have increased, his defensive performance has dipped: The Jazz allowed 3.6 fewer points per 100 in his minutes as a rookie and 0.5 fewer points per 100 in his floor time as a sophomore, and conceded 5.7 more points-per-100 with him on the court this season, according to Cleaning the Glass.”
Devine goes on to say that while Mitchell’s play “draws eyeballs,” center Rudy Gobert “is the true bellwether for Utah,” as the Jazz’s net rating swings are wildly different when the Frenchman is on the floor versus when he is not.
“When Mitchell’s got it going, breaking defenders down off the dribble and getting to the rim for all those creative finishes, he can be a game-breaker,” Devine concludes. “The greats, though, find ways to impact the game even when their shot’s not falling, and how much Mitchell can do that at this stage of his career remains an open question.”
As for Kuzma, Devine writes that his best skill is his scoring ability, but like Mitchell, he’s not the most efficient player. Devine does acknowledge that Kuzma’s reputation probably is hurt by the fact he plays for the Lakers.
Being a more frequent topic of conversation comes with wearing the forum blue and gold and being on the same team as LeBron (who, despite one of the most sparkling résumés in NBA history, still gets called overrated by some maniacs),” Devine concludes. “Sometimes, though, what they’re saying about you isn’t all that nice.”