Donovan Mitchell is going to be with the Utah Jazz for at least five more seasons after inking a max extension with the club over the weekend, with a reported player option on the fifth year in 2025-26.
It’s the continuation of what has been a rather meteoric rise to stardom for Mitchell, who was picked 13th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft before emerging as a Rookie of the Year candidate and, this past season, earned his first All-Star selection. Mitchell has steadily increased his productivity and efficiency in each of his three seasons in the league, all while taking on a hefty workload as the Jazz’s primary offensive weapon.
This past season he averaged 24 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game on on a career best 55.8 true shooting percentage. In the Bubble, Mitchell raised his game even further, particularly in their thrilling playoff series with the Nuggets in which he averaged 36.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game with a 52.9/51.6/94.8 shooting split in a seven-game loss to Denver. It was some of the best basketball of his career, but didn’t end the way he and the Jazz hoped, so this offseason it’s back to work to try and get his body right and continue to build on his game.
On Monday, Mitchell spoke with Dime over the phone on behalf of BodyArmor to discuss how he’s feeling after his extension, how the start to his career has exceeded all expectations, what the Jazz can takeaway from their latest playoff experience, wanting to win a title in Utah, what he is working to add to his game this offseason, and his upcoming sneaker collaboration with BodyArmor that will be given away to 100 fans.
Obviously it’s been a big week for you. What does it mean to lock this extension in and make sure you’re with the Jazz for the foreseeable future?
Yeah, yeah, I’m truly excited. I think the big thing for me was, you work so hard to get to a moment like this — everybody says you work to get drafted, to work your hardest, and my goal hasn’t changed to win a championship. For this to happen, to be able to provide for my family for life, I think it’s something that really stands out to me. Being able to work with the Jazz and continue to build on what we’ve been doing and try to go out there and win a championship speaks volumes to me, and I’m excited to get going.
You mention the opportunity to provide for your family. Coming from where you were picked at the end of the lottery to now, when you think back to Draft night, could you have imagined this trajectory you’ve been on just three years down the road?
I think I felt like I eventually would’ve gotten to this point, but this soon, I don’t think I would’ve — if you would’ve told me on Draft night that by Year 4 I’d be in this position, I don’t think I would’ve believed you. I think it was something I wanted to work to, but this trajectory that I’ve been going on has been special. At the end of the day I haven’t done anything that I’ve wanted to accomplish as far as winning a championship. That’s the end goal for me and the team and I still have a lot more work to do, but I’m extremely blessed to be in this position.
You’re coming off a Bubble experience where, that was one of the best series we got to watch, and obviously it didn’t end the way you wanted it to. But what do you takeaway from how you guys played in the Bubble and that series as you go forward and you guys like get Bojan back to try and take that next step this season?
Yeah, I think the biggest thing for us is we saw Bojan’s impact when he wasn’t there. Obviously we were up 3-1 and we had the chance to seal but we didn’t, but having him back I think for us offensively is a huge piece. You add a 20 point per game scorer and in the clutch is one of the greatest in the game right now. So for us, just continuing to build on what we have. The Bubble really showed what guys can do and showed where we need some work at, and I think we addressed some of those things in the offseason and I think we’re ready to get going and ready to pick up where we left off and get ready for the regular season.
It’s obviously a condensed offseason and you have to balance rest with putting in the work you normally would to improve your game. How are you going about that in trying to make sure you’re working towards a season that’s starting soon but also getting your body right and taking some time off?
Yeah, I think the big thing for guys like myself who have been in the Bubble is just trying to find ways to continue to take care of your body. Getting work done, finding ways to make sure that you’re on top of it 100 percent, because at the end of the day, we have a quick turnaround coming up. You look at what’s happened in the NFL with the quick turnaround guys are getting hurt. So you understand that’s the reality and we’ve got to make sure you find every way possible to prevent that. Whether it’s extra body work or maintaining your body even more on a certain basis. I think that’s the biggest thing for me, and I’ve been putting in that extra work off the floor. Everybody talks about the work you put in on the court and all that and in the weight room, but it’s the stuff you do off the court that really helps you get to that next level and helps you not just for December and January, but when we get into the March, April, May, June, July that your body’s conditioned and ready to go.
For you, in your game you’ve seen improvement every year in production and efficiency. What’s the focus for you on the floor this offseason and trying to make sure you’re able to elevate your game once again in Year 4?
Still just becoming a better playmaker. I think I showed glimpses of that in the Bubble, but being able to do that on a more consistent basis. I think one thing for me, it’s not just scoring, it’s for myself finding ways to get guys open. Drawing the double, getting off the ball. Having more of a presence on the defensive end and being more of a leader than I have, I think. I’ve taken those slight steps in the right direction but there’s definitely more I can do. So that’s where I’m looking to improve this offseason.
You’ve got your new sneaker out with the D.O.N. Issue #2 and this collaboration with BodyArmor for a giveaway to fans. I remember talking with you at All-Star in Charlotte when your first shoe was just coming out, and what does it mean to have another edition of your sneaker out and to do a collaboration like this with another partner in BodyArmor for the fans?
Yeah, I think it’s no secret what D.O.N. stands for — Determination Over Negativity. We’ve worked adidas on that, but I think being able to partner and do another collab with another partner of mine who stands for the same thing, I think, makes it special. You know, not just with what I do on the court, but off the court as well. Like I said, it’s not just what you do on the court and in the weight room, but it’s how you hydrate, how you take care of yourself. And I think BodyArmor is the peak sports drink and on pace to be the peak sports drink by 2025. So for myself finding ways to grow and get better, and this partnership and collaboration that we’ve done with adidas and BodyArmor is another representation of the hard work that’s been put in, not just by myself, but on both sides that we’re going to continue to do. And I’m excited to put this collab out and have everybody see my favorite colorway coming out inspired by my favorite flavor, Tropical Punch. Like I said I’m really excited for this and fans will be to when this comes out. That’s really where that collab for me is really special. It’s all of the things I pride myself on and I think my partners feel the same exact way.
Something I’ve really enjoyed about your line the last two years is how much color you put into your shoes and personality you put in. How important was that to you when you talk about colorways? Cause you do have a lot of colorways that are really bright and stand out, while a lot of times the first ones to come out are like, black and white.
That’s how I was as a kid, you know, growing up. That’s just how I was. Loved the bright colors, the bright colored shoes. So now that I’m in a position to have my own, just for me continuing carrying on the same message and energy I had as a kid. Being able to do that with adidas and now BodyArmor with our collab was very important for us to keep with the fluorescent colors and different varieties of colors on the shoe, but also base it off of my favorite flavor which is Tropical Punch and I think we did a great job of that.