One of the twists provided by the NBA play-in tournament is that it allows some extra time off for the top six seeds in each conference. Following a grueling five months of action, battling each other, injuries and COVID all the same, these teams get almost a full week off while they watch the eight teams in the play-in fight for the right to get into the NBA playoffs.
In seasons past, players like LeBron James and Stephen Curry could benefit from the added time off, but their Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors found themselves caught up in the play-in. The Lakers advanced as the seven seed in the Western Conference, but the Warriors will have to play the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night to earn their way into the real postseason.
The NBA play-in provides some extra time off for the top 6 seeds in each conference. Donovan Mitchell and these 4 stars are grateful for the rest.
With a dozen teams resting up and preparing for their first-round matchups, let’s take a look at five players most grateful for the additional time off.
NBA players getting much-needed rest: Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz had an outstanding season, wrapping up the Western Conference’s top seed with a 52-20 record. Their reward is a first-round date with either the Golden State Warriors or the Memphis Grizzlies, but thanks to the extra time off, Donovan Mitchell is aiming to make his return to the lineup in time for Game 1.
He’s been out with a sprained ankle since mid-April, and he’ll be needed if the Jazz are to go on any kind of a playoff run. Mitchell is averaging a career-best 26.4 points per game, and he’s the offensive firestarter behind the lethal Jazz attack.
Last season Mitchell had one of the most incredible scoring performances ever in a first-round losing series, dropping 36.3 points per game in a seven-game loss to the Denver Nuggets. He shot 51.6 percent from 3-point range on 9.1 attempts per game, and Mitchell will be needed to do more of the same this season in the NBA playoffs.