SALT LAKE CITY – Former Utah Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are off to record starts for the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Jazz have exceeded all expectations by going 3-0 to open the season, knocking off three likely Western Conference Playoff teams, while enjoying an overflowing treasure chest of draft capital.
Gobert and Mitchell meanwhile have quickly shown that they are worth the high prices the Timberwolves and Cavaliers paid for them.
While Rudy Gobert is often lauded for his rim protection and efficient offensive production, his rebounding gets overlooked.
It’s strange Gobert doesn’t get more credit for his rebounding considering it’s a category he led the NBA in last season, and, he owns the fourth-best rebounding percentage in NBA history.
But, Gobert’s production on the glass hasn’t gone unnoticed in Minnesota.
After corralling 15 rebounds in Sunday night’s victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Gobert has set a franchise record for the most rebounds by a Timberwolves player through three games to open the season.
already breaking franchise records. pic.twitter.com/Szf4AEsh1e
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) October 24, 2022
Gobert is the early league leader in rebounding average at 18.0 boards per game, including the 24 he grabbed against the Jazz on Friday night.
The former Jazz center is having exactly the type of impact the Wolves hoped he would when they traded for him.
Last season Minnesota ranked 21st in rebounding percentage at 49.0, but have jumped to fifth in the NBA this year at 52.4.
Donovan Mitchell is setting records of his own in Cleveland as a member of the Cavaliers.
The former Jazz guard has the Cavaliers off to a strong 2-1 start and had led the team in scoring in each of his three outings
In fact, Mitchell set a franchise record by scoring at least 30 points in each of the team’s first three games to open the season.
The three-time All-Star has recorded outings of 31, 32, and 37 points for Cleveland, including their overtime win over the Washington Wizards on Sunday.
Donovan Mitchell has become the 1st player in Cavs franchise history to score 30+ points in their first 3 games of the season. pic.twitter.com/sjNFFOUirW
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) October 24, 2022
It’s an impressive number for the new Cavaliers guard considering LeBron James called Cleveland home for 11 seasons.
Mitchell is currently the fifth-leading scorer in the NBA at 33.3 points per game, tied with Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry.
In addition to his scoring, Mitchell is also enjoying career highs in efficiency. The guard is recording personal bests in field goal, three-point, and free throw percentages.
The guard’s 5.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists would also be career highs for a season.
This isn’t the first time Mitchell has gone on an extended stretch of 30 point games, however. The guard achieved the feat seven other times for the Jazz during his first five seasons in the NBA, including four streaks of four games.
While seeing Mitchell and Gobert set franchise records with their new teams could result in sour grapes, the Jazz have had little trouble replacing their production.
Lauri Markkanen has exploded out of the gates averaging career highs in points (24.0), rebounds (9.7), assists (3.7), steals (1.3), and blocks (0.7).
The Jazz are one of four undefeated teams in the NBA joining the Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers, and the Milwaukee Bucks.