I'll admit, while I follow college basketball, I didn't know much about Mitchell until May when Vince Ellis wrote about how the Pistons grilled the athletic forward regarding his supposed "motor" issues. His numbers were so good his freshman year, the significant drop off had to be attributed to more than the proverbial sophomore slump. Mitchell admitted he lost interest and couldn't get up for games. That won't fly in the NBA, but obviously the Pistons don't think it'll be a problem.
If you remember Kevin's first round big board, he had Mitchell No. 11 overall. It's not crazy, because Mitchell was long projected as a lottery pick this year and may have been one in last year's draft. Here's what Kevin said about Mitchell earlier this month:
A roll of the dice? You bet. One of the most intriguing prospects in the country after a stellar freshman campaign, Mitchell struggled in every aspect of his game last year. So what do you believe? Did he regress or was it something else?
I'm inclined to chalk it up to an immature player (he lost a season of eligibility to academic issues) dealing poorly with a coaching change. That is, in and of itself, a genuine concern, but Mitchell has also shown that he can be a top five talent. I would have had him at this spot last year in a much deeper draft. Given the available options, I'll give him a mulligan, but he's the biggest boom or bust pick in the draft.
Mitchell definitely would've been a roll of the dice at No. 8, but to land him at No. 37 overall is very low risk, very high reward. I mean, just watch his Scouting Report video - dude is athletic and fun to watch:
Draft Express Scouting Report Video:
For what it's worth, the Pistons' future seemed most excited about the Mitchell pick, too:
Greg Monroe (@M10OSE) June 28, 2013
They didn't even tweet about KCP.
I know, I know -- I'm going to get kool-aid poisoning, but Jonathan Tjarks suggested last month that Mitchell could be the next Paul George:
How does an elite 6'9+ athlete with a fairly complete skillset fall to No. 10 overall? In George's case, because he was the best player on an underachieving mid-major team, far from the national spotlight. If there's one player in this draft who fits that description, it's Tony Mitchell of North Texas -- complete with two first names.
In person, Mitchell more than passes the eye test. He's 6'9, 235 pounds with a 7'2 wingspan and a 38' max vertical. Look at his dunks from UNT Midnight Madness this season. That's a guy bigger than most NBA power forwards dunking two basketballs at once, catching the ball in mid-air and doing a windmill and I'm not even sure what the last once was because holy s--t. At the combine, Mitchell jumped so high they had to put something under the bar to raise it. If things don't work out for him in the NBA, he can march over to the NFL and be an All-Pro TE for the next decade.
Like George, Mitchell put up some fairly interesting statistics in two years of college. As a sophomore, he averaged 13 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks on 44/30/67 shooting. That's a downgrade from his eye-popping freshman year, when he averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks on 57/44/74 shooting. Right away, you can see his athleticism in his rebounding and shot-blocking numbers. He is still a raw offensive player, as his career average of 1.1 assists to 2.6 turnovers tells you. However, what really jumps off the page are the three-point percentages (48-141 over two years, 34 percent) for a player his size.
Now, your thoughts.