Tony Mitchell Signs with Milwaukee Bucks: Call-Up Breakdown
In case it wasn't already clear after he put on a show at the Boost Mobile NBA D-League Dunk Contest 17 days ago, Tony Mitchell's main asset on a basketball court is his athleticism. He didn't need to jump through a fan's legs, slam home a pass from the rafters or throw down a 360 self-alley-oop to prove that.
But the Milwaukee Bucks aren't signing Mitchell to serve as halftime entertainment for the next 10 days; there's plenty of intrigue to the 24-year-old beyond his high-wire dunking act.
Mitchell entered the pro ranks last year as one of the top wing defensive prospects in the 2012 NBA Draft, after anchoring one of the nation's best defenses at Alabama. He went undrafted mainly because of his shortcomings on the other end of the court -- wrinkles he has begun to iron out with the Bucks NBA D-League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, over the last two seasons.
But Mitchell's immense raw talent -- an ideal 6-6, 216-pound frame, a nearly 6-10 wingspan and a 39-inch vertical -- has yet to translate to an efficient offensive game. Just like last season, he's been great at finishing in the paint, where he's taken 45% of his total shot attempts and made 55% of them. He's still prone to going one-on-one and settling for mid-range jumpers, however, and he's remained a below-average three-point shooter (see shot chart on right).
All NBA D-League prospects need to adapt their games to a reduced role when they're called up, but the adjustment will be even more crucial for Mitchell, who was leading the league in usage rate for the second straight season. In fact, that may be the determining factor in whether his stint in the NBA lasts longer than 10 days.