The Cleveland Cavaliers might have only sent one player to the All-Star Game this season, but Donovan Mitchell showed out in a big way. Finishing with 40 points and 10 assists, Mitchell was the game’s MVP runner-up, grabbing one vote away from Celtics star Jayson Tatum.
Off the floor, Mitchell participated in all of the weekend’s media segments, including a poll conducted by members of The Athletic. Mitchell was asked about a proposed change that would make the NBA playoffs more like football, giving the top seeds in each conference a first-round bye.
Mitchell isn’t quite a fan of the idea.
“Eh, I kinda like it the way it is. That’s a long break,” Mitchell said, per The Athletic.
Of the 11 players asked about the bye, Mitchell’s sentiments were nearly unanimous. Only Bucks guard Jrue Holiday backed the idea, suggesting it could have the same level of success as other recent playoff amendments, including the play-in tournament.
But Mitchell makes a good point about time off. First-round seeds in the NFL get two weeks off with the bye, but play weekly; therefore, the layoff isn’t so severe as the basketball equivalent.
It’s not hard to imagine a team entering the postseason with a head of steam, only to be derailed because of what could be two weeks off from the floor.
Mitchell Reveals MVP Aspirations
Though Mitchell didn’t take home any individual hardware from the weekend, that hardly means he wasn’t trying.
After the game, Mitchell confirmed what many guessed by watching the performance: both he and Tatum were vying for the MVP award.
“We were talking about it,” Mitchell said of himself and Tatum, per CavsNation. “Alright let’s go get it, Donovan Mitchell shared during the postgame press conference. “And at the end of the day, he caught fire. And it’s all love.”
Mitchell shouldn’t be too unhappy with his performance. After all, he’s the lone Cavalier representative at this year’s midseason game.
Mitchell now returns to a Cavaliers team that will look slightly different than when the former Louisville Cardinal left.
Mobley Sounds Off on Love’s Cavs Buyout
After the Cavs’ last game before the All-Star Break, news broke that veteran Kevin Love had formally requested a buyout. After a prolonged process, Love cleared waivers and later agreed to a deal to join the Miami Heat.
While Love had fallen out of the rotation in Cleveland but his contributions went beyond the box score.
Cavs big man Evan Mobley noted how big of a hole Love’s departure would leave in the locker room.
“It definitely hits you emotionally,” Mobley told Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “All the guys are going to miss him for sure, and I just hope he does great wherever he goes.”
Love hadn’t seen much time on the floor lately for Cleveland. Amidst the Cavs’ seven-game win streak this month, the 2016 champ was a coach’s decision DNP in each contest. With Jarrett Allen and Mobley’s ascent, playing time for Love was going to become harder to come by with each passing game.
The final remaining member of that 2016 championship team in Cleveland, Love will team up with the Heat, who could use his depth at frontcourt behind Bam Adebayo.