Unbelievable article run by ESPN last week on the film sessions that have powered Donovan Mitchell’s development. Despite averaging just 7.3 points per game in October, Mitchell emerged as Utah’s go-to guy by the All-Star break. Mitchell gives a ton of credit to his film sessions with Jazz assistant coach Johnnie Bryant. The team gave an ESPN.com reporter permission to sit in one of the sessions and the resulting article is full of great coaching insight from Snyder’s note about Mitchell’s growth to be able to see all 10 players on the court on a pick & roll to Bryant’s effort to get Mitchell to play at different speeds. As Snyder and Bryant note Mitchell’s improvement over the course of the season, I was reminded of Angela Duckworth’s definition of talent: Talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort. Donovan Mitchell is supremely-athletic and supremely-skilled, but perhaps his greatest asset (his real talent in Duckworth’s word) is his rate of improvement.
Mitchell’s timetable accelerated because of his aptitude. He showed the ability to develop new skills — such as finishing off one foot in traffic, a focus in his offseason workouts with Bryant — and instantly incorporate them into his game, grasping through film study the appropriate times to use his new tools. “These guys dig in,” Snyder says of Mitchell and Bryant. “It’s that kind of cycle of ‘practice it, recognize it, use it.’ That whole process is what makes these guys good together.”
For more on Mitchell/Jazz:
-Mitchell takes Kobe’s analysis to heart (LINK)
-The evolution of Quin Snyder’s coaching staff (LINK)
-Mitchell surprised even himself by becoming the Jazz’s unlikely rookie savior (LINK)
-Johnnie Bryant works behind the scenes, but his impact on the Jazz is unmistakeable (LINK)
For a good article on film study in general, check out this piece from Chris Oliver