Chicago Bulls: Donovan Mitchell’s 57 points remind CHI what they missed

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images) /

In Game 1 of a Western Conference first round game, Donovan Mitchell reminded the Chicago Bulls what they could have had back in 2017.

The 2020 NCAA Men’s Tournament was canceled. The Chicago Bulls failed to do well enough in order to play postseason basketball. Yet, here we are in August enjoying the best of both worlds.

If you are a basketball fan in any respect, the 2020 NBA Playoffs should have you feeling some kind of way. Kicking off on Monday, the NBA began with four straight playoff games starting with Game 1 of the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets.

In that game, the Jazz saw their star guard Donovan Mitchell go absolutely bonkers. The game, itself, was pretty intense as well. The teams went into overtime and Denver ended up pulling away, but Mitchell gave the Jazz everything he could possibly give on Monday afternoon.

Mitchell ended up playing a game-high 43 minutes and put up a ridiculous 57 points on 19 of 33 shooting, including knocking down six of 15 from deep. Mitchell scored in every possible way on Monday afternoon, including hitting all 13 of his free throw attempts.

Mitchell’s performance was outstanding from every perspective, considering he also grabbed nine boards and dished out seven assists. Denver’s answer was in the form of Jamaal Murray and Nikola Jokic, who combined for 65 points as well. Murray and the Nuggets did enough in overtime to seal the Game 1 victory.

The game should have given Bulls fans a bit of a haunting, also, considering Mitchell was drafted at no. 13 overall back in 2017 — the same draft the Bulls took Lauri Markkanen at no. 7 overall.

To be fair, it was also the same draft which saw the Philadelphia 76ers take Markelle Fultz at the first overall pick. But, back to the Bulls for now.

In three seasons, Mitchell has been the focal point in terms of keeping the Jazz relevant and in contention. He’s improved each season, and this year during the regular season put up 24.0 points, 4.4 boards and 4.3 assists per contest. As one of the league’s most exciting guards, Mitchell has given Utah plenty of reason to be optimistic for a while.

Meanwhile, Bulls fans aren’t quite sure on the future of Markkanen. Former head coach Jim Boylen definitely could have used him differently. Whomever the Bulls bring in as their next head coach will have to fix everything Boylen broke in Markkanen’s game.

Just, for a second, imagine a back court of Mitchell and Zach LaVine — we’re not even talking about Coby White just yet, who would have to come off the bench in this hypothetical scenario. Mitchell and LaVine would be absolutely explosive.

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If Mitchell continues to do his thing, he’ll prove several teams wrong for passing on him at this point.