CLEVELAND — The NBA can be a volatile place where players are moved around the country as part of trades, forcing them to start again in a new city with new teammates—but for Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell, his uprooting has been a welcome experience as he's fit into the area so well so early.
When the Cavs traded for Mitchell, he found out while he was on the golf course. He shouted in excitement and celebration when he learned that he'd be coming to Cleveland to join the roster full of young talent stars. But with a few weeks to have gotten really acclimated to the team, the team has lived up to that excitement.
"It's a family atmosphere. It's a community. And what I mean by that is everybody’s close," Mitchell explained when asked what has made the team feel like such a good fit for him.
Mitchell arrived in Cleveland at the start of September and already has formed close bonds with his teammates, especially his backcourt counterpart Darius Garland.
"I just met DG’s mom last night and she’s like ‘whatever you need.’ [Evan Mobley's] mom as well," Mitchell shared.
Mitchell, Garland, Isaac Okoro and both Evan and Isaiah Mobley have all been spending a lot of time together, both on and off the court. The group even made a trip to FirstEnergy Stadium to support another Cleveland team recently.
"We went to the Browns game and DG and I weren’t the only ones there. Ev and Isaiah and Isaac and those guys, everybody was up in the suite hanging out together," Mitchell said.
Team chemistry is a vital part of any successful team, and the Cavs have embodied that in their culture. They play selflessly and work tirelessly to get the results they desire and develop the young stars in their lineup each day.
The way the Cavs have instilled a family-like atmosphere isn't totally new to Mitchell, but has certainly made his short time here much easier and he believes will help them when it comes time to put it together on the court.
"It makes a transition like this, two weeks before training camp, much easier when you understand that guys want to be around each other, guys enjoy each other’s company, that way when you get on the floor, you can talk a certain way, you can hold each other accountable and that helps," he said.
With the preseason tipping off Wednesday night in Philadelphia as the Cavs take on the 76ers, the team will get a chance to put that quick chemistry to the test.
But beyond the game, Mitchell is also looking forward to the season starting for other reasons. He's planning to take the family atmosphere that he's enjoyed so far on the Cavs and spread that across Northeast Ohio—his new community. His new home.
"Once the season probably starts and the basketball season starts I’ll probably—no, I will be at a bunch of local games, whether it’s high school, college and whatnot, kinda of watching basketball," Mitchell said. "It's just one of those things, just to be in the community, that's something I really enjoy doing and once basketball season starts I'll be up and around."
Camryn Justice is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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