NBA Christmas: A gift for each team’s wish list in 2018

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Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images /
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Utah Jazz: A more efficient Donovan Mitchell

Last year, the Utah Jazz started the season 19-28 before ending on a 29-6 tear that resulted in a conference semifinals appearance. So no, it’s not time to panic over their 15-17 start just yet.

However, the difference was last year, the Jazz rode Donovan Mitchell‘s expanded role and Rudy Gobert‘s return to action to their hot streak. This team was supposed to carry that same momentum forward in 2018-19. So far, it hasn’t materialized, and Mitchell’s inefficiency has played a large role in those struggles.

It’s unfair to pin all of a team’s shortcomings on one 22-year-old in his second year in the league, but Utah also relies on him for offense. He’s upped his scoring to 20.9 points per game, but his assists have dropped to 3.3 per game and his .411/.296/.814 shooting splits on such a high volume are ugly. If Mitchell doesn’t get back to Rookie Donovan Mitchell’s more efficient output, the Jazz’s 24th-ranked offense could be in real trouble.