Why top NBA rookie Donovan Mitchell is driving Filipino fans crazy

SHARE
(From the Utah Jazz official Facebook page)

One of the National Basketball Association’s top rookies from the recently concluded season is coming to Manila and basketball fans are pumped.

A look at Utah Jazz rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell’s stunning performance reveals why the basketball-savvy country is giving this newbie the hype that’s usually reserved for superstars.

‘Spida’ in Manila

One of the leading candidates for the NBA Rookie of the Year award, Mitchell is expected to arrive in Manila on June 17 for a promotional tour for Adidas, the sporting brand he endorses.

While the details are not yet out as of this writing, his fans in the Philippines have sounded off as the news broke out.

Also known as ‘Spida,’ a nickname that has stuck with him since childhood, Mitchell finished his rookie season in the NBA with stellar averages of 20.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.5 stellar points per game in the regular season. He also bagged the Slam Dunk Contest title during the the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend.

Along with defensive powerhouse Rudy Gobert, he led a Utah Jazz squad that was depleted of stars to the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

In the first round, he led the Jazz in dismantling the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were led by veteran all-stars Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook, a former Most Valuable Player.

The Jazz would eventually be eliminated by the Houston Rockets in the second round.

His performance in the playoffs is considered one of the greatest by a rookie. He averaged 24.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.4 steals in eleven postseason games.

In May 2018, he was named as one of the finalists for the Rookie of the Year award along with Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics. The winner of the award has yet to be announced as of this writing.

Picked up by the Jazz as the 13th pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, Mitchell was barely regarded as a future star. One fan has even pointed out that sports network ESPN through analytics predicted that Mitchell would hardly make a dent playing in the league.