Donovan Mitchell scores 31 points, Ben Simmons gets the victory
As much as Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell were off-court adversaries in the eyes of the NBA public last season while they competed for Rookie of the Year honors, they never really had a chance to play against each other as that narrative was developing.
In their first matchup last year on Nov. 7, Mitchell didn’t start, but somehow shot 3-of-21 off the bench anyway. Despite that, and believing in Mitchell’s potential, Quin Snyder started him in the next game. And their last matchup of the season came less than two weeks later, when the Jazz had won just two of their previous ten games, and Mitchell didn’t play well again, picking up a frustration technical against Joel Embiid.
Mitchell took off soon after that, and the Jazz as a team did too. And the rookie rivalry with Simmons was on.
“It picked up towards the end of the year," Mitchell remembered. "The sweatshirt kind of took off and kind of created a little debacle. It was fun, though, I had a good time last year. Last year is in the past, though.”
Whether it was Mitchell’s desire to make a statement against Simmons, jawing from Philly fans, or simply Mitchell wanting to see his team score more than it did on Wednesday, Mitchell looked to make his mark on the game. In the end, he finished with 35 shots on Friday for 31 points, while Simmons scored just 10 in nine shots. Simmons, though, had the more well-rounded performance, adding eight assists and eight rebounds as well as the win.
Brett Brown on Joe Ingles
Though he was raised in Maine and played college basketball in Boston, Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown has spent the majority of his coaching career in Australia. He’s coached the Melbourne Tigers, the North Melbourne Giants, the Sydney Kings, as well as stints as both an assistant and the head coach of the Australian National Team.
So he’s been a close witness and key coach in Joe Ingles' rise, from his rookie season in the Australian NBL all the way to the top-100 NBA player he’s become today.
“There was this young kid, this gangly left-handed player, who could shoot a little bit, who was a little bit cruise-y. I used to call him ‘Sloppy Joe.’ I used to get on him so much defensively and just wind him up,” Brown remembered.
Ingles went from playing just nine minutes per game in the 2008 Olympic Games (second lowest on the squad), when Brown wasn’t coach, to playing 30 minutes per game in the 2010 FIBA World Cup under Brown. Of course, that was only the start: Ingles joined the Jazz in 2014, and his career has exploded since.
“He is as good of a competitor and as prideful a pro as I have been around,” Brown said. “When you see this young man come from Adelaide, and sign a contract for 50-some-odd million dollars, that’s the evolution of Joe Ingles. I saw him in his infant stages, and it’s quite a journey that he’s been on.”