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#pounditSaturday, August 8, 2020

Donovan Mitchell admits he was scared of Russell Westbrook as rookie

Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell seems pretty fearless on the court, but he shared a story about one time he was intimidated while playing.

Mitchell joined Adrian Wojnarowski for an interview on ESPN’s #oneteam Speaker Series and fielded questions submitted by kids from Boys and Girls Clubs of America. One question he was asked was the biggest fear he had to overcome in his rookie season. Mitchell says it had to do with Russell Westbrook.

“Westbrook was one of my favorite players,” Mitchell said. “He does that thing where he sits on the bench pregame, so physically seeing him I had to get that ‘Oh, that’s Russell Westbrook out of my head’. So Steven Adams is standing in from of him and I peek around him and Steven moves, and Russell is giving me the death stare right in my first game.”

Mitchell being intimidated seemed to show on the court as he went just 1-7 shooting for two points. Mitchell grew up pretty quickly though. He emerged in his rookie season for the Utah Jazz and helped them beat Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. Mitchell ended up impressing as a rookie with 20.5 points per game that season. He also had much more confidence than he showed in that first game against Westbrook.

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