The 2021 NBA draft will take place Thursday, July 29 with the Detroit Pistons holding the No. 1 pick. The Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic round out the top five selections.
We take a look at some of the prospects available in this draft, gauge their strengths, weaknesses, NBA comparisons and best landing spot within the player’s projected draft range. Here’s a breakdown for Baylor guard Davion Mitchell.
Mitchell broke out in the NCAA Tournament, averaging 13.5 points and 5.8 assists per game on the way to a national title. He’s a threat to score at every level while also being a strong facilitator who can get teammates going. Mitchell improved every season at Baylor offensively, showing a growing game on that side of the floor.
Defensively, Mitchell is one of the top prospects in the class. He’s able to get in passing lanes and stifle opponents 1-on-1. He struggled initially at Baylor but took big steps on this side of the ball in his next two seasons. Mitchell’s offensive leaps will get a lot of attention, but his defense is why he’ll make an immediate impact in the NBA.
Mitchell is not a great free throw shooter, which raises some doubts about his three-point shooting last year. There’s reason to believe his previous season wasn’t an outlier given the progression over his college career, but the biggest question mark is his environment. How much of Mitchell’s production was a result of Baylor’s elite offensive system and supporting cast? Would he have the same stock if surrounded by lesser players in a lesser system, which he had at Auburn as a freshman? He’s also 22 coming into the league, meaning his ceiling might not be as high as some of the younger prospects.
There will be obvious connections to Donovan Mitchell due to the Baylor guard wearing No. 45 and having the same last name. Here’s a look at their respective final seasons in college.
Donovan Mitchell: 15.6 points, 2.7 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 40.8 FG%, 35.4 3P%
Davion Mitchell: 14.0 points, 5.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 51.1 FG%, 44.7 3P%
The Louisville guard shot significantly better from the free throw line and was younger coming into the league, but the numbers are close enough to merit the comparison. OG Anunoby might be the more apt description of what Baylor’s Mitchell brings to the table. He’s going to be a strong defensive prospect from Day 1 and depending on how “real” his offensive growth during college is, he’ll either be a solid starter or an All-NBA contender.
Best Landing Spot
Mitchell is going to be a lottery pick, but probably won’t go inside the top five. The Golden State Warriors would be a great fit due to the offensive talent and system around him, but there’s a high chance the Warriors don’t retain this selection. The San Antonio Spurs are known to add shooting to any prospect’s game and would be a great landing spot as well. The Orlando Magic could also use a player of Mitchell’s caliber right away.