Despite the San Antonio Spurs taking a couple of more losses than they anticipated, they are still squarely in the playoff picture. That means another late first-round pick is likely coming for the franchise that’s made it seem like everyday work to find diamonds in the rough. That leads us to this week’s college basketball prospect to watch in Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell.
The Louisville guard has had a bit of a rough year, but that’s mostly because of the players he’s been forced to play with and the type of scheme Rick Pitino runs with the Cardinals. He’s never had truly great offensive teams despite having some great players on his squads over the years, but Mithcell is certainly one of his better offensive players in recent years.
Here are Mitchell’s measurables:
- 6’3”, 210 pounds
- 14.8 points, 2.0 steals, 2.6 assists, 5.0 rebounds per game
- 40.3 FG%, 37.0 3P%
His field goal percentage has gone down from his freshman season, but that’s due to his greater playing time (about 11 more minutes per game) and his need to create his own shots with some guys out for injury and no graduate seniors in Trey Lewis and Damion Lee this season. However, he has shown a vast improvement in his three-point shooting, which was down at 25 percent last year. He’s also taking almost three times as many shots from beyond the arc as he did last season, so that bodes well for the 20-year old sophomore.
Mitchell’s large frame for someone his size allows him to knock around with some of the bigger guys on switches, which won’t really apply at the next level since there is much less switching going on. He gets into passing lanes well — a reason for his two steals a game — but he does not close out well on spot-up shooters which is a bit concerning.
However, he plays tough and plays through screens well, a skill that will help at the pro level. Pitino’s teams all know defense and that’s how you get on the floor, so that along with toughness should not be an issue if the Spurs decide to draft him. He’s also quick and can defend the smaller, quicker guards out there despite him being so much larger than them.
Mitchell could add yet another dimension of athleticism with the other young guys and prospects in Dejounte Murray, Dewayne Dedmon, Kawhi Leonard and Jonathon Simmons. He’ll have to become a more consistent shooter, but should be fine playing with other guys who can actually play on offense.