With Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz allegedly at each other’s throats, many of NBA Twitter’s Photoshop experts have taken to the platform to dress ‘Spida’ in the colors of opposing teams around the league.
Okay, so “at each other’s throats” might’ve been a bit strong. I’ll give you that. But considering the extreme reaction of Utah Jazz fans over The Athletic’s reporting that Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert’s relationship “doesn’t appear salvageable,” it’s easy to understand the hyperbole.
I’ve yet to have drunk the Kool-Aid on all of this Mitchell vs. Gobert drama, though.
As Joe Ingles himself has stated, once basketball is back in full swing, the two of them will work things out. And if for some odd reason they don’t and somebody’s quickly sent packing, as long as it’s not Mitchell, I’ll be perfectly at peace with the situation …
I’m not a madman; I have my reasons:
- Gobert isn’t worth the amount of money he thinks he is.
- Gobert is a traditional big in a league that devalues the skill set.
- Gobert can (and will) be played off the court in key playoff contests.
- Gobert can’t shoot. He’s simply no threat outside of five feet to score.
- Gobert is a defense-first center. The problem? The Jazz’s defense isn’t great.
No, Mitchell might not be the physical embodiment of an advanced metric, but — compared to Gobert, not counting his inferiority on the defensive end of the court — he fits the bill for the kind of player a franchise would dream of drafting, developing and winning an NBA title with.
So, when it comes to other teams jockeying for his services when the only way he’d get there is via an unwarranted, knee-jerk trade, I tend to get a little defensive. I’m confident he’s not going anywhere, but still — it’s these kinds of tweets that bring out the “mama bear” within me:
Talk about a virtual punch gut punch, right?
As far as my Spida-centric rage is concerned, not all NBA teams (or fans) are created equal. In fact, with respect to photoshopped jerseys digitally draped over Mitchell’s shoulders, the following five are the most unbearable, anger-inducing of the lot — tread lightly, peeps:
1. The Phoenix Suns
Coming out of college, there was never any pre-existing rivalry between Mitchell and Devin Booker. Thanks to the passion of each of their respective fanbases, though — and their relative, geographic closeness to one another — comparisons are constantly drawn between the two …
Things get heated, for sure.
Mitchell can easily get a bucket, but Booker does it better. Book can “technically” move laterally on defense, but Mitchell can competently pick a guy up for 48 minutes. Furthermore, there are serious conversations about whether both should play shooting guard or point guard, as well.
Mitchell’s first All-Star selection earlier this season only added fuel to the fire, as Booker’s came merely by way of a Damian Lillard injury — we get it, Suns fans, you’re (still) butt-hurt about the whole thing. Listen, if you can’t keep yourself from scribbling a Phoenix Suns jersey on Mitchell’s back with a Crayola, I beg of you — anything but the orange creamsicle ones.
2. The Boston Celtics
At first, Hayward’s complete and total fumbling of his free agency decision on Independence Day back in 2017 was just plain hurtful. After the dust settled and precisely six minutes and 45 seconds had passed of the Celtics’ 2017-2018 season, those feelings of hurt were first replaced with immediate concern, but then an overwhelming reassurance that all was right in the world.
Photoshoppers, for this little guy, save yourselves some serious time and energy and just do a quick copy-and-paste edit of Mitchell’s dome atop the above image — sincerely, Jazz fans.
3. The Houston Rockets
“Dare to stand alone.”
That’s what my mom always told me growing up. The idea was that, even if doing the right thing means doing it by yourself, it’s always worth it. With James Harden and the Houston Rockets in mind, the saying’s applicability extends into spheres never before known by my wise mother:
- First, I’m likely the only Jazz fan who doesn’t hate watching Harden play.
- Second, Harden stands alone, too. With the ball. At the top of the key. Always.
For the vast majority of Jazz fans, watching a Pop-Tart cook is preferred to having to sit through sixty seconds of The Beard’s one-on-five style of play. Good news for Rockets Twitter, though: if Harden’s drawing skills are anywhere near his ability to draw fouls against innocent opponents, they can comfortably sit this one out — El Chapo’s got ‘em covered on the Photoshop front.
*** Ba-Dum-Chhh ***
4. The Los Angeles Lakers
According to Julie Jag of The Salt Lake Tribune, up until the Los Angeles Lakers’ 121-96 victory over the Jazz on December 4, 2019 at Vivint Smart Home Arena, LeBron James went “nine years, 10 games, three teams and three NBA championships” since securing a win in Utah.
In his own words, said King James of his career’s play in Salt Lake City, “I suck here.”
If the soccer moms of the Wasatch Front own enough real estate in Bron-Bron’s brain to keep him from (ever) curb-stomping the h*ck out of the Jazz, Lakers Nation — especially those random guys who “protested” their team missing the playoffs last year— have no business tweeting out doctored images of Mr. Mitchell in the purple and gold of Laker royalty.
Every other big-ticket free agent, though? Sure, par for the course.
5. The Oklahoma City Thunder
This one’s purely personal …
Raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, admittedly, I’m a Thunder apologist.
On top of that, even outside of the Keisel clan, here in Utah, Russell Westbrook is seen as public enemy number one. Meanwhile, within the walls of Miller Manor, my wife and I are seriously (no joke) considering “Westbrook” as a middle name for a future, unborn child of ours …
Things get worse, I’m afraid:
- I love everything about Enes Kanter’s NBA career.
- I cherished Derek Fisher’s brief time with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
- I wore a Thunder jersey during many playoff matchups against the Jazz.
I’m open about it, but know I’m leading a bit of a double life. For the sake of my sanity, through the power of the written word, all I can do is plead with Thunder fans to keep their Photoshop accounts free of anything having to do with Donovan’s unlikely future in Oklahoma City …
Rest assured, I’ll see to it that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s given the same treatment.
Relax: Donovan Mitchell’s not going anywhere …
NBA Twitter can get as creative as it likes with Photoshop and different jersey combinations involving Mitchell, Gobert or even President Trump for all I care. It’s not going to change the fact that Jazz executives know it’s in their best interest to keep their All-Star players together.