For the majority of this season, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell has been one of the favorites to take home Rookie of the Year. In Utah’s six-game first-round series victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, he showed exactly why.
Mitchell scored at least 20 points in every game, joining Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then with the Milwaukee Bucks, as the only rookies in NBA history to do so. And with his 38-point performance in the clinching Game 6, Mitchell joined a couple of other Lakers legends in the history books.
According to NBA Stats, Mitchell became just the fourth rookie in NBA history, joining Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Magic Johnson, to score at least 35 points in a series-clinching win:
Donovan Mitchell becomes the 4th rookie in NBA history to notch 35+ points in a playoff series-clinching win. With his 38 points tonight, only Wilt Chamberlain (53 points), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (46 points), and Magic Johnson (42 points) have recorded more. #NBAPlayoffs #NBARooks pic.twitter.com/DSdA1ilZdy
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) April 28, 2018
That is some outstanding company to be a part of, but that’s nothing new for Mitchell who has been turning heads all season.
Wilt and Kareem were dominant forces that the league had never experienced when they came in as rookies. Of course Magic’s 42-point performance famously came in the NBA Finals when he played all five positions to wrap up the NBA Championship for the Lakers.
Now Mitchell can put his name up with those stars as he moves forward in leading the Jazz up against the Houston Rockets, who had the best record in the league during the regular season.
Despite Mitchell’s historic performance, much of the focus following the game was on the Thunder and Paul George in particular, as he will have a big decision to make in free agency this summer. But Mitchell earned his time in the spotlight and now finds himself amongst legends.
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