NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Donovan Mitchell

by Jonah Ballow
NYKnicks.com
@jonahballow

The Path
Connecticut native Donovan Mitchell was destined to become a baseball star before a wrist injury derailed his sophomore season in high school.  While his AAU summer basketball season was also affected, Mitchell re-evaluated his goals and decided to focus only on the round ball as a future profession.  Eventually, Mitchell transferred from Canterbury to New Hampshire boarding school Brewster Academy for his junior and senior seasons.  Mitchell’s success at the high school level led to a spot on Louisville's team where he averaged 19.1 points per game during his freshman campaign.  Last season, Mitchell increased his scoring average by eight points in a starting role in the backcourt.  Following his sophomore season at Louisville, Mitchell flirted with the draft before officially throwing his name in the pool by signing an agent.

Strengths
Mitchell is an extraordinary athlete that seeks highlight reel plays on both sides of the floor.  With a 40-inch vertical and a 6’10” wingspan, Mitchell makes up for being an undersized shooting guard.  Scouts believe Mitchell’s ball handling skills have improved over the past season and his extremely quick first step leads to open scoring opportunities.  The 20-year old owns NBA range and can nail a variety of difficult shots from the perimeter and inside the paint.  There’s some versatility to Mitchell’s game as a tweener between a point guard and shooting guard. Mitchell is one of the top prospects in the defensive category.  He’s projected to be an elite defender on the perimeter considering he averaged an ACC-best 2.1 steals per game last season.

Next Level
As mentioned above, Mitchell is undersized for an NBA shooting guard.  However, his NBA frame and jaw-dropping athleticism make up for the size disparity, which could lead to a team in the lottery selecting on June 22.  Mitchell is the player that has moved up the most in the mock drafts this past season and is now targeted as a top 15 player.  One would assume most teams will look to transition Mitchell from the 2 spot to point guard where he can go head-to-head against the elite NBA signal callers.

Statistically Speaking
Mitchell ranked No. 3 in the ACC in steals percentage.

What They’re Saying
“Mitchell has been one of the big risers of the pre-draft process early on, and it is not a surprise considering how trendy players in his mold are in today's NBA. He's got quite a few things to work on still, but also a strong framework to build off long-term.” – Draft Express