As the Pistons prepare for the NBA Draft on June 22nd, one prospect they will have to take a long look at is Louisville’s, Donovan Mitchell.
Mitchell, a sophomore, initially entered the draft without an agent but decided to stick in the draft and will now likely be a lottery pick.
Despite only standing at 6’3″, Mitchell has a NBA body. He measured to have a 6’10” wingspan at the NBA Combine. He weighs around 210 pounds. Athletically, Mitchell is a really exciting prospect. He is explosive at the rim, as he posted a 40.5″ max vertical at the Combine. Mix in his length and speed, and you have a player that can do this:
The 20-year old guard averaged 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game in his sophomore season. He shot 35.4 percent from the three-point line. He attempted the fifth most three-pointers in the ACC while making 80, eighth best in the ACC. Mitchell is best as a shooter in catch-and-shoot situations. Mitchell actually shot 40 percent in 18 conference games. He will need to improve as a shooter in non-catch-and-shoot situations, as he handles the ball more in the NBA.
One aspect of Mitchell’s game that Stan Van Gundy would praise right away would be his defensive ability. He is a hound on defense. Due to his length, Mitchell is great at contesting shots. He will pick up his man full court length and pester him until he maybe gets the ball away. Last year he averaged 2.1 steals per contest, which was good for first in the ACC. He was also first in the ACC in total steals with 70. He posted a 3.7 percent steal percentage, which was second in the ACC. Mitchell’s size, length, and tenacity will make him a nasty defender to deal with.
Mitchell will have to improve as a ballhandler if he hopes to reach his ceiling in the NBA. He has immense potential as a pick and roll playmaker, but in order for him to do so, he needs to become a smarter ballhandler. He averaged 1.6 turnovers per game last season. The guard posted a 10.2 turnover percentage. Mitchell is a bit careless with the ball, and with an underdeveloped left hand, he struggles to work his way through traffic.
While positionless basketball has seemingly taken over the NBA, we still don’t know where Donovan Mitchell will play at. A team like Detroit would likely hope he can play point guard. Mitchell will need a hefty amount of development with his ballhandling, playmaking, and shot creation.
Mitchell shot just 50.7 percent at the rim last season, a poor showing for a player who will end up with a lot of attempts at the rim. He had a tough time facing contact at the rim and will need to use his body as an advantage when attacking the basket.
Donovan Mitchell is an enticing prospect, who has been heading up draft boards as of late. If he is available at 12, then the Pistons would be smart to snag him up. While he can immediately receive minutes at shooting guard, the Pistons can mold him into a potential point guard prospect.
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