Potential Detroit Pistons Offseason Targets: Davion Mitchell

Detroit Bad Boys

Photo Link

As the season comes to a close and we look back with hindsight on the performances of both players and coach, one glaring takeaway emerges — Jaden Ivey may not fit perfectly into the plans Head Coach Monty Williams has for this Pistons team. Right or wrong, so long as Williams holds the whistle, it’s his show. Locating and adding players to this roster that fit Williams’s vision is the shortest path to immediate success. This is the second article in a series exploring potential targets for the Pistons this summer that fit the archetypal mold outlined by Monty Williams’s scheme this season. Considering the shooting guard role, Williams has utilized Ivey primarily as a pick-and-roll ball handler, spot-up shooter, and transition threat. Taking this usage as criterion, this series will identify external players that would excel in this context.

Davion Mitchell is a contradiction. The 25-year-old guard is generously listed at 6’2 and weighs in at 205lbs. He doesn’t have the wingspan of a condor and he only averages 4.3 assists per 36 minutes. His minutes have decreased each year he’s played in Sacramento. And yet, this season may have been his most promising. For this discussion, Davion Mitchell is very much a projection, but what he has done in his roughly 10 minutes per game this season unquestionably fits the mold Monty Williams has defined for his two guards.

Let’s begin with Mitchell’s position. While he’s 6’2, he is not a point guard. He did not play point guard at Baylor, yet he has played primarily the reserve point guard role in Sacramento. Miscast as a primary playmaker, Mitchell has struggled to consistently produce offense for the Kings. Nearly 96% of Mitchell’s three-point makes have been assisted — he isn’t creating looks for himself at a high rate from behind the arch like other point guards do. But he has improved as a finisher and three-point shooter every year he’s been in the league. At the rim, Mitchell has added roughly 15 percentage points to his field goal percentage (80%), four percentage points to his three-point percentage (36%) and eight percentage points to his percentage from 3-10ft (52%) per basketball reference. Jaden Ivey shoots 65%, 34% and 41% from the rim, three and 3-10ft respectively.

A quick glance at Mitchell’s shot chart further enforces his ideal role. The majority of his attempts are within the paint and from behind the long line.

Roughly 21% of his plays are allocated to pick-and-roll actions, given his lack of self-creation from the three-point line, it’s likely that the majority of those midrange attempts are out of the pick-and-roll. Mitchell shoots 50% from 16ft to the three-point line and grades out in the 80th percentile of pick-and-roll ball handlers — no doubt buoyed by his efficiency from the midrange and the rim, where only 36% and 54% of his makes are assisted respectively. Jaden Ivey grades in the 49th percentile as a pick-and-roll ballhandler.

42% of Mitchell’s plays are as a spot-up shooter, where he grades out in the 59th percentile compared to Ivey’s 8th percentile. Rounding out the core competencies is transition, where Mitchell grades in the 44th percentile on 18% of his plays. All these numbers, naturally, come with the caveat of a small sample size.

In Detroit, Mitchell would need to expand his volume without taking a step back in his efficiency. While this is, no doubt, a gamble, the abilities Mitchell has shown as a secondary ball handler, spot-up shooter and slasher are all areas where it’s reasonable to project additional volume. Mitchell isn’t scoring exclusively out of isolation, he’s actually quite poor as an isolation player, and he’s not shooting difficult shots. He’s simply excelling in situation pick-and-roll reps and a high rate of catch-and-shoot jumpers.

That Mitchell can play so effectively both on and off the ball pairs well with Cade Cunningham. He can bring the ball up and initiate offense in small doses when Cade is being pressured, and he can be counted on to create a nice look off the pick-and-roll when he’s asked to do so. As a point guard, Mitchell’s 4.3 assists per 36 minutes may be underwhelming for a point guard, but it’s right at home next to Cunningham, where Jaden Ivey has averaged 4.8 assists per 36 minutes.

The most bankable, and perhaps intriguing, element that Mitchell adds to the Pistons is his ability as a guard defender. Mitchell is a dogged defender, capable of checking most point guards and some shorter shooting guards. He is active both on and off the ball, and he generally stays out of foul trouble despite matching up against strong offensive players fairly consistently. With the presence of Ausar Thomspon, adding Mitchell allows the Pistons to shift Cunningham onto weaker offensive players at any position one through three (and potentially some small fours as well). It’s a projection to say Mitchell will make Cunningham’s life easier on offense, but he will surely make Cunningham’s life easier on defense.

The gamble, then, is on the scalability of Mitchell’s role. Can he increase his volume by effectively doubling his touches per game and maintain his efficiency as a pick-and-roll operator and spot-up shooter? Can he continue to improve as a shooter and finisher around the rim, as he’s done in every season to date? Given the concrete improvement Mitchell can provide on defense, it may be worthwhile for the Pistons to answer these questions themselves.

He may never be a superstar, but Davion Mitchell may just become the three and D guard Detroit needs next to Cade Cunningham.

Articles You May Like

Simone Fontecchio has surgery on big toe that forced him to miss end of season
The Pindown: Instant Reaction to Trajan Langdon’s Hire
What could new President of Basketball Operations Trajan Langdon’s NBA Draft board look like?
DBB on 3: Reacting to the Trajan Langdon hire
Pistons hire Trajan Langdon as new President of Basketball Operations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *