DYNAMIC DONOVAN: As a freshman at Louisville in 2015-16, Donovan Mitchell started five games and averaged 7.4 points for the season. On Dec. 1, the Utah Jazz guard became the first NBA rookie to score at least 40 points in a game since Blake Griffin in 2011. The 6-3 Mitchell has developed rapidly over the last few years, allowing him to make an immediate impact after being selected with the 13th pick in NBA Draft 2017. He is averaging more than 16 points per game and leads all rookies in three-pointers made. With Mitchell sparking the offense, Utah has won five consecutive games to improve to 12-11. Mitchell faces several challenging opponents at shooting guard during Week 8, including a matchup against newly named NBA Western Conference Player of the Week James Harden and the West-leading Houston Rockets on Thursday at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

SECOND HELPING: While Mitchell is one of many rookies making headlines, several talented second-year players are also turning heads this season. Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Boston Celtics guard/forward Jaylen Brown have helped fuel strong starts for their respective teams. Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram and Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray have produced big scoring games. Reigning Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon of the Milwaukee Bucks remains a steady contributor, while Chicago Bulls guard Kris Dunn and Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis are finding their groove after offseason trades. Count Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield, San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray and Toronto Raptors big men Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam among the top second-year performers, too. The promising play from the NBA’s first- and second-year players sets the stage for a fantastic Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star 2018 in Los Angeles.

NBA MEXICO CITY GAMES 2017: This week, the NBA will play two regular-season games in Mexico City for the second straight season. The Brooklyn Nets will participate in both games, meeting the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday (10 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass) and the Miami Heat on Saturday (6 p.m. ET, NBA TV) at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico. All three teams will be playing regular-season games in Mexico for the first time. The matchups mark the 25th and 26th games – including the sixth and seventh regular-season games – in Mexico since 1992, the most held in any country outside the United States and Canada. Last season, the Phoenix Suns played two regular-season games in Mexico City, defeating the San Antonio Spurs and losing to the Dallas Mavericks.

– NBA Broadcasters Bulletin