Making Your Way Through the Mocks: Week 3
Exploring a panel of current Mock Drafts, Duke senior Mason Plumlee again leads the boards, with four projections predicting he's the man for the Nets at No. 22 overall. Tony Mitchell, Gorgui Deng and Kelly Olynyk each drew dual attention, with single votes for Rudy Gobert, Tim Hardaway Jr., Shane Larkin and Tony Snell. Since we already covered Plumlee last week, let's focus instead on Mitchell, whose name has been tossed around the Nets' range since the lottery was set.
Projected to the Nets by Gary Parrish (CBS-Sports) and NBADraft.net, Mitchell is renowned for elite athleticism and physical tools, though questions remain about inconsistent performance during his sophomore season at North Texas, when his statistics fell off after a strong performance the previous year. As a freshman, Mitchell averaged 14.7 points and 10.3 rebounds while shooting .567 percent from the field and .439 percent from three-point range in 29.4 minutes; he posted 13.2 and 8.5, shooting .437 and .289, respectively, in 32.8 minutes.
Parrish knows Mitchell's strengths and weaknesses well, having written about his shifted stock back in March, and believes the combo forward has "tremendous upside" and would be "a great get" at No. 22. Scott Howard-Cooper (NBA.com) – who projects Mitchell to the Timberwolves at No. 26 – recently profiled Mitchell's draft process and attempts to show NBA executives and coaches last season was an aberration: "He is likely headed to somewhere around the 20s … with the possibility of getting into the late teens if a particularly trusting team believes the lesson has been learned." SB Nation's Jonathan Tjarks, who has Mitchell sliding one spot past Brooklyn (to Indiana at No. 23), even believes the 21-year-old could be "a potential home run." Tjarks notes that "at a certain point in the draft, the benefits of swinging for the fences outweigh the risks of striking out."
–Big-time run/jump athlete
–Can play either forward spot
–Good shot blocker
–Perimeter shots needs to become more consistent
Mitchell has been projected as a late first-round pick, though draft analysts believe his stock dipped after a sophomore season during which his offensive numbers weren’t as good as the year before. But Mitchell was as good or better defensively, and he’s a rugged rebounder. Those two skills alone will allow him to be an NBA contributor.
In a year of volatile draft predictions, final week intrigue has finally caused a shakeup at the top, with Victor Oladipo displacing Ben McLemore at No. 2 overall. Projections have McLemore as high as No. 1 in a shocker or even falling out of the top five. More interesting perhaps is the smoke starting to build around Maryland center Alex Len as someone who could potentially knock Nerlens Noel out of the top spot. Something to keep an eye on as June 27 approaches.