Breaking down Donovan Mitchell’s hot streak by the numbers.
Donovan Mitchell is taking his play to a level that few players have ever reached in the NBA.
After scoring 51 points and dishing out 7 assists in a game four win that put the Utah Jazz up 3-1 in its first round series against the Denver Nuggets, Mitchell is looking to cap off one of the greatest individual performances ever in a playoff series.
On the heels of his first All-Star game appearance, Mitchell is starting to lay the ground work for an all-important contract season in 2020-21.
Let’s put Mitchell’s unreal first four games into context.
Donovan Mitchell scoring records
There have been nine occasions where a player has averaged 40 points per game in a playoff series. Michael Jordan accomplished the feat five times himself.
Nobody has averaged forty points per game in a series since Jordan last did so in 1993. But Mitchell has a legitimate chance to be the first player to do so in 27 years.
Through four games in this series, Mitchell is averaging 39.5 points per game.
If the Jazz close out the series on Tuesday, Mitchell will need to score 42 points or more to join this elite club.
On Sunday night, Mitchell became the third player with multiple fifty point games in a playoff series. The first two players were Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson.
Mitchell is the first player since 2001 to score fifty or more twice in a series.
Mitchell’s 51 on Sunday also tied Karl Malone for second-most points scored by a Jazz player in a single playoff game. His 57 in game one of the series is No.1 in franchise playoff history, and the third most in NBA playoff history.
Mitchell said after Sunday night’s game, however, that he is not focused on joining the elite ranks with Jordan and Iverson.
“They won. I haven’t done anything yet,” he told TNT. “I’m trying to win this series.”
Regardless of the records he breaks in this series, Mitchell has been sensational across the board. He’s 40 for 42 from the free throw line (95.2 percent), and has lead his team in assists in three out of four games, averaging 5.75 assists per contest.
Mitchell has done so while logging pretty modest minutes for an NBA star, averaging only 35 minutes per game in the series.
For comparison’s sake, Kawhi Leonard is logging 41 minutes per contest for the Clippers, Damian Lillard is averaging 39 minutes per game for the Blazers, and Jayson Tatum averaged 37 minutes per game in the Celtics sweep of the 76ers.
Mitchell’s run is putting him in nearly uncharted territory, and he is getting there in an extremely efficient manner.
Utah is one game away from pulling off the upset and moving into the second round where they’d face the winner of the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks series, which currently sits tied at 2-2.