NBA Rookie Power Rankings: Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell is a star in the making – USA TODAY


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Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) dunks the ball during the first half against the Washington Wizards at Vivint Smart Home Arena.(Photo: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)

USA TODAY Sports spotlights one rookie each week as part of our weekly Rookie Power Rankings.

If you weren’t aware of the hype buzzing around Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell, consider last Friday his coming out party.

Mitchell has had a few scoring outbursts prior to his franchise record-setting night, but his 41-point effort against the Pelicans, dragging the Jazz back from 16 points down, put him in rare air.

The only other active NBA players with a 40-plus point game as a rookie are LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Eric Gordon, Steph Curry and Blake Griffin.

Mitchell, the No. 13 pick whom the Jazz traded up with the Nuggets to select, has eased the pain of losing Gordon Hayward this summer. He’s the third-leading scorer among rookies at 16.6 points per game, and though his shot selection still leaves something to be desired, he’s as exciting a rookie as there is in this year’s class.

He drilled the Pelicans from outside (6 for 12 on three-pointers) and used his freakish length to swerve around DeMarcus Cousins in the paint.

“What didn’t he do?” Cousins quipped to the Salt Lake Tribune. “He had a hell of a game. Super impressive coming from a rookie.”

If the Jazz, winners of six in a row, somehow sneak into the playoffs in the loaded Western Conference, they’ll have Mitchell to thank for shouldering so much responsibility so early. What’s interesting is that the

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