1. Donovan Mitchell
Mitchell went blow for blow with reigning regular season MVP Russell Westbrook, and looked like the better player at times.
The rookie carved up the Thunder defense through six games averaging 28.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, shooting an efficient 47 percent. But it was his composure in the games toughest moments what was most impressive. Mitchell’s Game 6 performance is a thing to remember. He had 38 points on 14-of-26 shooting in a closeout 96-91 home victory. Mitchell came out the third quarter like a madman, dropping 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including eight straight makes and three 3-pointers. His third quarter performance felt like a coming-out party for anyone who didn’t know this rookie was real and here to stay.
According to Royce Young of ESPN.com Mitchell’s dominant scoring performance for a rookie is only behind Hall of Fame centers Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 216 points in 1970) and Wilt Chamberlain 199 in 1960. Mitchell finished with 171 points in six games against the Thunder in the quarterfinals.
Mitchell has been the most entertaining guard all playoffs and we can’t wait to see what he does going forward in his career. The sky is the limit.