Donovan Mitchell has been outstanding from the outset in his first season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and now there's a single number that can, somewhat, encapsulate just how great he's been. Eleven.
That's the number of 40-point games Mitchell has tallied this season, with the latest being a 42-point effort against the Knicks on Friday. That is a Cavaliers franchise record, eclipsing the 10 such efforts that LeBron James recorded in the 2005-06 season.
According to the Cavs, this is Donovan Mitchell's 11th 40-point game this season, passing LeBron James (10 in 2005-06) for the MOST 40-PT games in a single season in #Cavs history.— Kelsey Russo (@kelseyyrusso) April 1, 2023
Mitchell also tied Kyrie Irving (11) for the 2nd-most 40-PT games by a Cavs player.
You see the note at the end of that tweet? That's pretty crazy. Mitchell has played 66 games for the Cavs, and he already has as many 40-point games as Kyrie Irving, who played 381 games in a Cleveland uniform.
It's obviously a different situation for Mitchell, who isn't sharing scoring duties with LeBron as Irving did for three of the six seasons that tandem was in place. Not only that, but the three years that Irving did play as the go-to guy in Cleveland were his first three years in the league. Mitchell is in the prime of his career.
Still, this is a highly impressive feat for Mitchell to accomplish in just 66 games. For the season, Mitchell is averaging 27.9 PPG, a number that Irving never came close to averaging in Cleveland and even LeBron only topped four times in 11 seasons.
It has indeed been in incredible start to Mitchell's Cleveland tenure, and it's not done yet. The Cavs are looking like they'll be the No. 4 seed in the East, and could be a very dangerous team in the playoffs. Mitchell doesn't shrink in big games, as he's one of only five players to have ever scored at least 51 points in a playoff game on two separate occasions.