Can Jazz Stop New Orleans Without Mitchell?

Jason Lake

Monday, February 5, 2018 12:44 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 12:44 PM UTC

The Utah Jazz have themselves a special rookie in Donovan Mitchell, but he might not be able to help Utah beat the New Orleans Pelicans or the basketball odds Monday.

Utah Jazz at New Orleans PelicansFree NBA Pick: Depends On MitchellBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Will the real Utah Jazz please stand up? It’s been very difficult to draw a bead on the Jazz (24-28 SU, 28-24 ATS) this year, in large part because of missing players. The latest: Donovan Mitchell, Utah’s impressive rookie shooting guard. Mitchell missed Saturday’s game in San Antonio with an illness, and he’s questionable to play Monday night when the Jazz visit the New Orleans Pelicans, tipping off at 8 p.m. Eastern on NBA-TV.

The Pelicans (28-24 SU, 26-25-1 ATS) are having their own problems. DeMarcus Cousins tore his left Achilles last week and is out for the season; Nikola Mirotic has been acquired from the Chicago Bulls to replace Cousins in the frontcourt, but it’s going to take a while for Mirotic to get his feet wet in the Big Easy. Can the Jazz take advantage? Until we know more about Mitchell’s status, the NBA odds for Monday’s game are off the board, so we’ll have to come up with the usual contingency plans.

Niko and the Spider

First, let’s not get too carried away with praising Mitchell (plus-1.2 BPM). The No. 13 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft is enjoying a very good rookie season with Utah, but Mitchell’s value has been on the offensive side (plus-1.8 OBPM), where he leads the team in scoring at 22.2 points per 36 minutes. However, the Jazz don’t have a lot of offensive firepower aside from Mitchell, although they did get 34 points from PG Ricky Rubio (minus-1.0 OBPM) in Saturday’s 120-111 win over the Spurs (–6.5).

As for Mirotic (plus-2.4 BPM), he was enjoying a strong season for Chicago, albeit a truncated one after getting knocked out by teammate Bobby Portis and missing the first 23 games. But again, Mirotic has been all offense this year (plus-3.4 OBPM) at a career-high 24.0 points per 36 minutes. And he’s hardly a carbon copy of Cousins (plus-5.3 BPM), a two-way player with a lean towards defense (plus-3.5 DBPM).

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Portis looking back on Mirotic altercation: “I’m sorry for what happened. We tried to be professional, make things work on the court. We did that. Off the court, we never talked. We played cards (on the plane) one time. It was kind of awkward. So we didn’t play anymore.”

— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) February 2, 2018

Given these two players and their impact, if Mitchell plays Monday night, we’re inclined to recommend the OVER for your NBA picks. If Mitchell isn’t able to go, consider fading New Orleans instead. The Pelicans lost 118-107 to the Minnesota Timberwolves (–8 at home) in Mirotic’s debut on Saturday, and the Jazz are on a five-game winning streak SU and ATS, including the Mitchell-free win over San Antonio.

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