Peachtree Hoops continues its 2021 NBA Draft scouting report series with another installment, this time examining Baylor guard Davion Mitchell.
Age: 22 (Sept. 5, 1998)
Height: 6’ 2
Wingspan: 6’ 4
Weight: 205 lbs.
There were two picks in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft who were from the state of Georgia. Isaac Okoro and Devin Vassell are both Georgia products, picked by the Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs, respectively. Davion Mitchell, Sharife Cooper, and B.J. Boston are this year’s representatives from the Peach State who could potentially be drafted into the league this Thursday evening.
Davion Mitchell could be the strongest prospect of this year’s crop of Georgia talent, and it’s been a journey to get here since he led Liberty County to a GA state title in 2016. After playing with Chuma Okeke at Auburn in 2017, Mitchell transferred to Baylor and played two full seasons there after red-shirting the 2018-19 season. In his Senior year at Baylor, he led the team to the NCAA Championship defeating Gonzaga this past April. Mitchell displayed many of the qualities that will make him a lottery pick this year, and he will perform best on a roster that needs production immediately and wants to win. He will likely be the oldest player picked in the lottery, unless Chris Duarte jumps into the top 14.
Shot Creation and Finishing
Mitchell is extremely quick and athletic, he uses his large frame well to attack the rim and initiate contact, and he does not shy away from that challenge. His first step is devastating, and once he gets that step, he can get to the rim quickly and beat defenders to the spot. He can overpower smaller guards and should still be able to punish larger defenders on switches.
Mitchell improved his shooting drastically over his college career at Auburn and Baylor, going from 28.8% three-point shooting his freshman season to 44.7% in his senior season. That level of improvement is very impressive and bodes well for the future, sometimes something just clicks in a guy’s stroke and the improvement is clear. When Mitchell gets hot, he gets really hot. That said, there’s reason to reserve some judgement, as Mitchell still has to prove it at the next level and at the NBA distance.
Mitchell is a quick ball handler with solid playmaking ability. His primary role on Baylor was to initiate offense, but often times he would get a head of steam and miss playmaking opportunities, especially in the pick & roll. He has made strides in this part of his game, and he can potentially improve here with proper coaching. Mitchell could see wild swings in this part of his game if he goes to the right team.
Mitchell is prone to putting his head down and getting “tunnel-vision” with the ball in his hands. This can cause him to make silly mistakes and ugly turnovers. This becomes particularly glaring when he gets put in a tough spot that he has to pass out of, because he’s not a creative enough passer to escape effectively. This question of consistency also extends to his shooting, as mentioned above Mitchell improved quickly as a shooter over the course of his college career, however will this development be linear? Can he prove he can shoot with consistency at the next level? At Baylor, Mitchell was a streaky shooter who could go through hot and cold spells, what are the chances these become more pronounced when he gets to the league?
Mitchell is an impact defender and possibly the best all-around guard defender in the draft. He plays with intensity and focus on each possession and has the quickness to stay in front of anyone. His size and weight also mean that he won’t get overpowered by some of the bigger guards in the league. That combination makes him prepared to step on to any court and defend.
As mentioned above, his size and weight are integral defensive tools, which allow him to guard up a position or even two. At his best, Mitchell would be a switching nightmare. Mitchell would raise the floor of the defense on several teams starting on day one, and he really could be paired with any kind of guard which adds to his versatility.
As the name would suggest, intangibles are difficult to nail down. But if there was ever a player who embodies defensive “intangibles,” it’s Mitchell. His mentality is fantastic, he takes every defensive possession seriously and genuinely believes that he can win every defensive matchup. That will take him far in the NBA.
Honestly, Mitchell has no clear defensive weaknesses. He flops a lot. But that’s not really a weakness. He’s a complete defensive player.
Conclusion and Hawks Fit
Mitchell can be an All-Defense type of player given how well-rounded his defensive game is coming into the NBA. His makeup as an NCAA champion is impressive, and it’s clear that there are many teams who could use that kind of energy and stability right away. Given Mitchell’s age and experience, he would fit best on a team who is prepared to compete quickly. He’s the type of player you could see a team pull together a package to move up for in the draft (though probably not the Hawks).
As far as the fit in Atlanta, it’s unlikely that the Hawks would have the opportunity to draft Mitchell at No. 20, as it seems he will likely go in the 8-15 range in Thursday evening’s draft. From purely a basketball standpoint, however, there would be plenty of ways the Hawks would benefit from having a player like Mitchell on their roster. His defense alone would seriously help the second unit, and his point-of-attack defense would take the pressure off guys like Kevin Huerter and Lou Williams if he returns as the backup point. You could imagine the chaos with a trio of Mitchell, Reddish, and Hunter on defense. Offensively, it remains to be seen if Mitchell can develop into a viable off-ball option, it will be something to watch as his career develops and potentially a swing skill if he can figure it out. Ultimately, for those Baylor fans in Hawks country, it seems unlikely that Mitchell ends up in Atlanta.