Davion Mitchell is a defensive menace with some off-the-bounce shooting that cannot be ignored. His recent rise on draft boards should only continue, as he and Jared Butler figure to spearhead the best backcourt in college basketball’s deep March Madness run.
Davion Mitchell- SG, 6’2″ (6’5″ WS), 205 lbs., Baylor, (22 years old).
Offensive role: Floor-Spacer + Secondary Creator
Defensive role: POA guard disruptor
NBA projected role: Rotation piece
Swing factor: Playmaking
ESPN 2021 Big Board: 28th
My projected general range: Late 1st/Early 2nd (24-34)
- BPM: 9.1
- TS%: 63.8%
- STL Rate: 3.5%
- FTR: 22.8%
(Image profile curtosey of Barttorvik.com)
In 2017, Mitchell was ranked as the 57th best prospect in the country on the RSCI Top 100 and committed to play for Bruce Pearl at Auburn. He was buried on the bench behind a very deep Auburn guard rotation and averaged just 17.1 minutes per game off the bench, so he decided to transfer to Baylor and the rest was history.
Last year, as a redshirt sophomore he started all 30 games for a Baylor team that finished 5th in the final AP poll and built a reputation as one of the best defenders in college basketball.
His breakout season offensively this year is far from a surprise in general, but the shooting leap he’s made is extraordinary and in turn, has skyrocketed his draft stock. It also helped him secure a spot on the All-Big12 First Team along with teammate Jared Butler.
The uptick across the board bodes well for his shooting projection going forward, though you’d like to see the FT% a bit higher.
|Shooting Numbers By Year||Sophomore||Junior|
The massive growth made by Mitchell in both efficiency and the eye test in such a short amount of time cannot be ignored. The growth curve for players is never consistent, as we’ve seen players develop at a wide range of rates. That’s one reason why age shouldn’t be a major factor when you talk about his draft range, which looks to be in that late-1st/early-2nd area. He is also playing an optimal role on an elite team, so that must be factored in as well.
The slashing ability combined with his ability to use his explosiveness off the bounce gives him a much-needed counter to overly aggressive defenses that try to take his three-pointer away. He also has shown promising passing flashes as well. While not a primary, he figures to serve as a creative secondary engine to a backcourt and/or offense.
Here he displays his ability to attack the basket against one of the best on-ball defenders in college basketball, Deuce McBride.
The shooting will be the make-or-miss skill for Mitchell. Simply put, a guard his size has to shoot lights out to carve out a significant role in the NBA. The shooting threshold for guards that are 6’2″ or smaller without primary playmaking skills is sky-high.
What better way to start the first possession of the game than with a tough contested step-back three?
He has been reliable in hitting spot-ups and catch and shoot threes as well. Baylor’s floor spacing and ball movement are elite, so he’s had an excellent opportunity to get valuable off-ball reps when he isn’t creating for others.
Here you see him get loaded in his shooting position for the skip pass and knock down the triple.
While not an elite playmaker or someone that I think will serve as a primary creator for an offense, Mitchell certainly has some ball skills and should be able to operate comfortably as a secondary creator in the NBA. He takes care of the ball too, sporting a responsible 2.1 assist/turnover ratio.
This was a nifty set from Baylor, using the low man to seal off the high post, who cuts in for the easy bucket off the Mitchell feed.
He isn’t someone that necessarily creates plays out of nothing for others but often makes the right reads in a quick manner that sets his teammates up for easy looks as illustrated below.
Splits the zone defense by using the screen to manipulate the closest defender to him, then snaps in a quick bounce pass for the easy bucket.
The ferocity that Mitchell plays with on the defensive side of the ball is menacing, to say the least. Mitchell constantly applies pressure on-ball and uses his strength to dig into opponents’ making them uncomfortable.
He also fights through screens, making an emphasis to stay attached to his assignment’s hips no matter what is thrown his way. Davion manufactures turnovers at a high rate because of this, and it’s apparent that the eye-test matches the statistics in this regard as Mike noted in his tweet below:
Out of 1192 players in the country who have individually defended at least 112 possessions, Davion Mitchell is #1 overall in highest% of those poss being TOVs. He forces TOVs on 27.6% of poss he defended.
— mike gribanov (@mikegrib8) March 8, 2021
Here’s an example of that tenacious defensive pressure he’s constantly applying. Takes the screen away, forces his man to drive baseline then recovers and makes the strong strip. Menace.
His ability to navigate through screens and read his opponent’s thought process on the fly is what makes him such an impactful defender no matter what the offense throws his way.
Off the ball, the defensive awareness is just as good, though he’s not able to disrupt or blow up plays as often as you’d think due to his size which limits some of the off-ball impact.
Here he showcases why he may be able to occasionally guard up (on smaller wings) despite being 6’2″, he hangs with the built-like-a-tank 6’5″ Isaac Likekele. Holds his ground then gets a piece of the shot.
Role/Fit in the NBA
There will always be a role for players that can provide disruptive on-ball defense while providing the ability to space the floor on the other end. Mitchell’s playmaking has also seen an uptick and should be factored into his projected role at the next level.
Teams that could use a spark plug off the bench and have versatile guards that can play on and off the ball should covet a guard like Davion Mitchell.
Some specific teams that I think make sense:
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Dallas Mavericks
- Utah Jazz
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Categories: NBA Draft