For the first time in a decade, the Jazz have a player who has won multiple awards for best player of the week in his conference in a season.
Donovan Mitchell was named the NBA’s Western Conference Player of the Week after a three-game stretch in which he averaged 34 points (46.6 percent on field goals, 44.4 percent from 3-point range), five assists and five rebounds per game. The Jazz went 3-0 in those games, with wins over the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver and Milwaukee.
In a twist of fate, fellow second-year player Ben Simmons won the award for the Eastern Conference after his own stellar week. The two battled it out for last season’s Rookie of the Year honors, before Simmons ended up with the award. Simmons’ week included 16 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists per game in leading the Sixers to a 2-1 record.
It’s the first time since Carlos Boozer’s 2009-10 season that the Jazz have had a player who has won multiple Player of the Week awards in the same season. Mitchell’s previous award came for his play in the second week of January.
“I’m not really worried about that type of stuff. It’s an honor to have that, but we lost today, and that’s what’s going to be on my mind rather than the award,” Mitchell said.
Frank Jackson’s minutes on the rise
After an injury-riddled beginning to his career at both the collegiate and professional levels, Frank Jackson is finally getting a chance to shine with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2018-19.
Jackson, who attended Lone Peak High School in Highland, was named the Salt Lake Tribune’s Player of the Year in his senior high school season. Now, after averaging about 12 minutes per game in 2018, his minutes have steadily risen in the new year: 17 MPG in January, 22 MPG in February and March contests so far.
“The thing I like best about him, defensively he’s really solid, and that seems to be the area where most perimeter guys struggle the most in this league. He’s shown that he’s gonna be a really good defender,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said.
“His ability to get to the rim, his quickness, and he’s shooting the ball well right now, too, which makes him even more difficult to guard," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “I’ve seen him grow on a lot of levels.”
For the season, Jackson is averaging 14.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per 36 minutes on the court. He hasn’t been terribly efficient, though, shooting 42.8 percent overall and 30.4 percent on 2.2 3-point attempts per game.
“His offense is coming around, and he’s deciding what he can and can’t do,” Gentry said. “But he’s only gonna get better by the experience of being out on the floor and playing. We’re happy to have him, and we think he’s going to be a really solid player in this league.”