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Donovan Mitchell.

Rookie Donovan Mitchell achieves multiple feats with career-night for Utah Jazz

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When Gordon Hayward decided to leave the Utah Jazz in free agency to join the Boston Celtics, it left a big hole on the team's roster that needed to be filled.

In his final season in Salt Lake City, the All-Star averaged a career-high 21.9 points and 5.4 rebounds and was their number one offensive option.

This is a huge amount of production that the Jazz had to replace and they always knew it would be tough.

There was inevitably always going to be more pressure on the likes of Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood and Derrick Favors to improve their numbers.

But thanks to a smart decision by the front office, they may have found a replacement for Hayward via this year's draft.

Utah acquired the number 13 pick Donovan Mitchell via a trade with the Denver Nuggets and he has turned into arguably the most impressive player from his class.

Utah Jazz v Minnesota Timberwolves

Mitchell may have been flying slightly under the radar but he made everybody stand up and take notice with a stunning performance against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.

The 20-year-old dropped a career-high 41 points with a terrific offensive outburst in the fourth quarter that led his team to a win that moves them above .500.

His points total set a number of impressive feats. He broke the Jazz scoring record for a rookie and became the first NBA rookie to score 40 points in a game since Blake Griffin in 2011.

The shooting guard was 13-of-25 from the field and 6-of-12 from three-point range.

According to Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders, he also became the first rookie since Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry to hit five or more threes in consecutive games.

"I don't have any words, to be honest," Mitchell said after the game, per ESPN. "I had Jonas (Jerebko) in my ear saying keep taking those shots. Even shots that may not always be good shots, he says keep being aggressive. Coach's saying it. Everybody's saying it.

"The fans are incredible. Just like Louisville. I'm speechless, but it was great to have that ovation. I'm pretty sure I was smiling for about the last six points I scored. Still smiling now."

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers

This display was a culmination of what has been a good recent run of form for Mitchell during the Jazz's five-game winning streak.

In the winning stretch, he's posted 21.8 points and 4.6 assists per game on 46.8 percent shooting and 47.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Throughout the campaign, he's averaging a respectable 16.6 ppg, 3.3 apg and 3.1 rpg.

The Louisville product ranks third in scoring among all rookies behind Ben Simmons and Kyle Kuzma.

It may be very early, but he's showing Utah that there is very much life after Hawyard and he is already showing signs he can develop into a real star.

Topics:
NBA
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Gordon Hayward
Utah Jazz
Rudy Gobert

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