Film Don’t Lie: Gradey Dick, Dillon Mitchell, Dereck Lively II

Detroit Bad Boys

With a new NBA season about to dawn, it is a great time to take one final deep breath of the summer offseason and think about the not-so-immediate future. More specifically, I’m talking about the 2023 NBA Draft prospects. We don’t know how the Detroit Pistons season will unfold. It could be the play-in tournament, or it could be vying for one of the following names. It makes sense, then, to at least be familiar with what the 2023 NBA Draft has to offer.

This will be the 4th of a multi-part series where I will break down three possible prospects for the 2023 NBA Draft. For my series, I will not be looking at any players that were in college last season, though our own Steve Pelletier may have those breakdowns for you in the future. I will instead focus on a few players taking the nontraditional route to the NBA and the crop of HS seniors.

To continue this series, I will be looking at a couple Big 12 Players in Kansas’ Gradey Dick and Texas’ Dillon Mitchell along with another prospect headed to Duke in Dereck Lively II.

For these breakdowns, I will give just a paragraph or two of my overall thoughts on the prospect accompanied by my video breakdown on each. I do want to make a note that with ALL of the prospects in this series, I had varying levels of access to stats, information, and film. I try to highlight and note where I got stats from, if I had access to one game, just HS film, or maybe access to other leagues they played.

I also want to emphasize that these breakdowns are solely my evaluation of these prospects as players but not specifically for the Detroit Pistons. We have no idea how some of the Pistons’ young core will develop or where they will land in next year’s Draft. I simply wanted to give fans and readers of DBB a little insight into who these prospects are right now with the understanding that they have almost a full year of growth ahead of them.

Gradey Dick

6-foot-7 – Kansas – 18 Years Old (Turns 19 on Nov. 20, 2022)

STATS (via inSTAT) – The Season Ticket (18 Games) – 18.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.6 TOPG, 1.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG

  • 51% FG – 47% 3P (78 attempts) – 78% FT

Offensively, you do not talk about Gradey Dick without bringing up the high-level shooting. He shot a ridiculous 47% from 3-point range playing against some of the best high school competition in the country. The catch and shoot is real, and while the movement shooting has room for growth, you will see him running off a ton of screens so the growth should come. I also really like his midrange pull-up game and, in general, his high basketball awareness will make for a great offensive player within a team-first context. The absolute biggest area for improvement will be self creation and ability to finish at the rim.

Defensively, that high basketball awareness immediately flashes to make you believe he can be a quality team defender able to execute the game plan. He can even use his anticipation and length to be disruptive at times and jump passing lanes for steals. On the ball, he is going to compete and be engaged, but I do wonder what his best matchups end up being in the NBA.

Check out the Video Breakdown for my Full 2023 Preseason NBA Draft Player Profile

Dillon Mitchell

6-foot-8 – Texas – 18 Years Old (Turns 19 on Oct. 3, 2022)

STATS (The Season Ticket) – (16 Games) 11.6 PPG, 7.7 RPG (Over 2 “O”), 1.2 APG, 1.1 TOPG, 0.6 SPG, 1.3 BPG

  • 70% FG- 1/3 from 3 – 60% FT

Offensively, there are definitely questions about Mitchell’s shooting when you look at the lefty’s overall numbers from 3 and the free-throw line. He is a big-time athlete who is able to put pressure on the defense and contribute offensively in other ways. He can be an absolute menace on the offensive boards and be a play finisher in the dunker spot, transition, etc. He has an interesting post-up game off of cuts duck ins, and rebounds where he displays a soft touch with a left hand baby hook. He absolutely has to find a counter to go with and not be so dependent finishing solely with his left hand.

Defensively, I am interested to see what type of versatility he will be able to bring to Texas this season. He does most of his damage offensively in the lane, but I was able to watch him chase guys on the perimeter defensively, most notably at the aforementioned Gradey Dick, and have some good on ball reps on the perimeter that make him an intriguing defender. He will have room for growth in his off the ball defensive consistency and focus and staying down on shot fakes.

Check out the Video Breakdown for my Full 2023 Preseason NBA Draft Player Profile

Dereck Lively II

7-foot-1 – Duke – 18 Years Old (Turns 19 on Feb. 12, 2023)

STATS – 14.0 PPG, 14.0 RPG, 4.5 BPG

Offensively, I do think there is potential for him to grow into a “stretch” or pick-and-pop big, but I am not completely sold on that part of his game as some others. The part of his offensive game that actually stood out to me the most is his passing. He is extremely unselfish, almost too much at times, and I thought he did a really nice job taking advantage of opportunities to get teammates open looks. He was put in a lot of pick-and-roll possessions but wasn’t playing with teammates who capitalized on those as much as you would hope. That element is something I am excited to see change in his time at Duke. He has an intriguing mid-post game where he looks very comfortable but has lots of room for growth. Finally, at his size and movement ability, he is going to be a really good play finisher in all the areas you would expect like the dunker spot, rebounds, and transition.

Defensively, you can immediately see the upside with what he will bring in terms of rim protection, but I do have some questions. I felt like in high school, and maybe this was just the scheme, I never got to see any ability to defend on the perimeter. He looked to be a true “drop coverage” big that camped out in the lane. I understand that “bigs” can be successful playing drop coverage in the NBA, but I would have at least liked to see what movement skills he had further from the basket. In terms of his overall rim protection, he is obviously going to block some shots, and I was very impressed by his 2nd jump. I think where he has to get better is more discretion on when he leaves his feet to contest AND playing with verticality when the situation calls for it.

Check out the Video Breakdown for my Full 2023 Preseason NBA Draft Player Profile

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