Donovan Mitchell deserves every penny of his new contract

Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /

Donovan Mitchell, the former Louisville basketball star, just got a huge new contract extension.

Donovan Mitchell has reportedly agreed to a five-year rookie max extension worth $195 million with the Utah Jazz.

The deal has $163 million in guarantees with the opportunity for the money to increase all of the way to $195 million if Donovan meets certain accolades (such as an All-NBA team). This newly signed contract will make Mitchell a very rich man. He deserves every last penny of it.

At Louisville, Mitchell was never a primary ball handler for the Cardinals. The springy 6’3″ Mitchell took a huge step from his freshman year to his sophomore year in college after coming in as a raw athlete at Brewster Academy.

After being a role player as a freshman mostly known for his athleticism, Mitchell expanded his role to be the star of the team in 2016. He became a much better defender and learned how to use his athletic gifts to the highest extent on the basketball court.

Mitchell averaged 15.6 points per game as well as 2.1 steals, and 4.9 rebounds as a sophomore. His assist numbers were low because he was an off-ball player almost exclusively for Louisville.

After Mitchell made his difficult choice to leave for the NBA after his sophomore year, he revealed that Chris Paul and Paul George actually had a big impact on his decision to leave. Mitchell hung around Chris Paul and his camp before entering the draft.

"“He’s actually, him and Paul George, are the main reasons why I’m here,” Mitchell said. “They told me I should definitely stay in the draft and had a big influence on my decision. Being at that camp, I learned a lot. He told me the game’s going to have to start slowing down before success is going to come."

As it turns out, that was pretty darn good advice for the 24-year old who is now enjoying a meteoric rise to stardom in the NBA.

Mitchell was selected as the No. 13 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and was immediately part of a draft-day trade. The Denver Nuggets originally owned that pick. However, a trade executed by the Jazz to move up and select Mitchell led the Jazz to their new star.

From there, the Jazz looked to groom Mitchell as a combo guard as he would be one of the smaller shooting guards in the league if he stuck solely to that position. That development helped Mitchell as a ball handler throughout his young career.

Mitchell still thrives off of his athleticism in the NBA. However, his biggest new addition to his arsenal is his basketball IQ coming fully alive.

Mitchell is a monster off of the pick-and-roll. He has developed an ability as an acrobat around the rim, but also one of the most creative minds in basketball. His basketball IQ is off the charts and, for that, his highlight plays are among the best in the game on any level.

Mitchell was a star from day one in the NBA. His rookie year, Mitchell averaged over 20 points per game, was (controversially) the rookie of the year runner-up, and won the 2018 NBA Dunk Contest as part of the NBA All-Star game week festivities.

Mitchell has become the guy on the Utah Jazz that teams know they have to lock in on each and every game. Mitchell draws the other team’s best defender and he still continues to dominate and get better.

One of the stars of the NBA playoff “bubble”, Mitchell joined some elite company in his time in the bubble. He was the third player in NBA history to put up multiple 50-plus point games in a playoff series when he did so against the Nuggets. He put up two such performances in that series including his career high of 57 in a loss.

What kind of company did he join you may ask? Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson.

Donovan Mitchell is so much more than just basketball.

Donovan Mitchell has been using his star status for a lot more than just basketball recently. He has been one of the biggest activists in the NBA as tensions in the United States rise.

"“Basketball has given me so much and it has allowed me to pursue a dream I had since I was a kid. With that being said, it has also given me a platform,” says Mitchell. “When I speak, I don’t just speak for Donovan Mitchell. I speak for the African Americans and minorities in general because I need to use my platform to address certain things that kids might not have the same voices.”"

He has not been afraid to speak his mind. He is a leader for his peers and that is an admirable trait that Mitchell has seemingly always had even since his time at Louisville.

Still, while he remains a protagonist of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, Mitchell continues to shine off the floor in other ways that have led so many to love him so much.

He supports the University of Louisville consistently tweeting out his thoughts on the current basketball team and interacting with former Louisville football star Lamar Jackson regularly.

Mitchell is proud of who he is and he always wears a smile. He’s one of the most likable people in the game and, for that, we love to see Mitchell getting what he is owed.

When he was at Louisville, it was impossible not to root for “Spida” each and every time he touched hardwood.

Mitchell will now take his earnings and be humble about his huge achievement as he always has been. A humble giant in the basketball world and still growing. He’s the face of Louisville basketball in the NBA and you really could not ask for a better person for that role.

Donovan Mitchell has earned every penny of $195 million and watching him afar is a priceless opportunity all of the time.