Donovan Mitchell was one of the draft’s biggest risers this past season. Mitchell declared for this years draft after two years at Louisville. Mitchell was a late bloomer who made First Team All-ACC in his sophomore season. His performance level increased when Louisville’s PG Quentin Snyder went down with an injury mid-season. He averaged 15.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG in his sophomore season.
Mitchell doesn’t neccesarily have great size for how he plays, but his 6’10” wingspan sets him apart from other guards in the draft. With his great frame, he is able to take contact when he drives to the lane and posseses excellent body control on fast-breaks.
Even though Mitchell doesn’t have a significant size advantage over defenders, he is very good at getting above the rim. Mitchell posted a 40.5″ vertical during the NBA combine. Mitchell has very long strides which help him get down the court quickly in transition and his long arms and wingspan help him throw down some flashy dunks.
Mitchell was one of the most explosive players in the college game this year. He creates tons of space for himself to shoot by utilizing his pull back crossover move. His footwork on contested jump shots helps him get tough shots off. When shooting the ball, Mitchell elevates to shoot over his defenders.
Mitchell has a tendency to make bad decisions with the basketball. Often times he is moving too fast and is out of control on offense.
Mitchell needs to prove to NBA teams that he’s more than just a shooter, last season 70.5% of his shots were jumpers. He settles for outside shots way too often and decided to shoot contested shots instead of passing them up or driving to the lane and finishing in the paint.
His shot selection in transition can sometimes be questionable. Most of the time he penetrates the lane without an idea of what he’s going to do next and his vision when driving the lane can use some work.
One of his biggest issues is that he struggles to use his weak ball handling side, the left. At some times, Mitchell is trying to do too much instead of doing the simple play.
NBA Player Comparison: Marcus Smart
Both Smart and Mitchell have below average size but make up for it with their athletic build. Smart was the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and has been a solid player for the Celtics off the bench for the past few years. Both of these guys have great builds, are a little undersized, and are a little out of control. Mitchell has a chance to become a important piece for a contending team in the futureh, just like Smart.
Where he goes on Draft Night:
Mitchell has risen on mock drafts over the past few months from being projected to go late first-round to early second-round, to now being a possible lottery pick. The highest that Mitchell could possibly be drafted would be No. 9 to the Mavericks. The Mavs are in need of someone that’s strong on defense with an athletic build like Mitchell.
The lowest he could fall is to the Pacers at No. 18 who reportedly have interest in him, and have already had him in fro a pre-draft workout. The Pacers need someone like him especially if star SF Paul George is traded.
The ideal fit for Mitchell is the Charlotte Hornets. Mitchell would be a perfect counterpart to Kemba Walker in the Hornets back court.