At the time, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchel collapsed to the floor and showed strong emotions over the team’s playoff shortcomings.
As a sixth seed, the Jazz had just lost a seven-game first-round series to the Denver Nuggets after squandering a 3-1 lead. Less than a year later, Mitchell has viewed that outcome differently.
“In some respects, it was good that it happened. You learn a lot from losses,” Mitchell said after Monday’s practice. “If we were able to get away with not paying attention to the small details and winning that series? I’m not saying we wouldn’t be the same team we are today. I’m not saying that. But you definitely have a different chip and edge.”
Because of that, the Jazz believe they are better equipped to handle this year’s NBA postseason.
The Jazz already credited last year’s postseason failure as motivation for finishing with the NBA’s best record (52-20) and dispatching the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in five games in the first round. After appearing in four consecutive postseasons, however, the top-seeded Jazz enter their second-round matchup against the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers with bigger interests than making louder playoff noise.