Leading up to the NBA Draft we will be analyzing scouting reports for various players who have entered their name in this year’s NBA Draft. The focus of these articles will be on prospects who we find most intriguing and feel readers need to become more familiar with. Please let us know if you want any players specifically @edupridepress. All stats and videos are via KenPom, ESPN, DraftExpress, and YouTube.
Donovan Mitchell – PG/SG – Sophomore – Louisville
Weight: 211 lbs
Age: 20 years and 7 months
Projected: 12 (DraftExpress) 14 (CPP Big Board) 13 (CPP Mock Draft)
Background: Nothing short than an athletic freak, Donovan Mitchell made a splash in the college basketball world this season! Mitchell took an enormous step from his freshman season to his sophomore season and became the leader of the Louisville Cardinals. Averaging 15.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.1 SPG (Steals/Game), and shooting 35.4% from 3-pt range, Mitchell showed his versatility and ability to do it all on the court. From running the court with lightning speed to rebounding on the other end, Donovan Mitchell continues to soar up draft boards and is being seen as a possible Mid-Lottery pick now. Mitchell did not take part in any of the scrimmages or shooting drills at the NBA Combine, but his measurements and agility workout numbers were impressive for a guard of his height. The ex-Louisville guard had one of the top wingspans among guards at the combine with 6’10”, the third best hand size for guards with 9.5 inches, and measured 5.9% body fat. Mitchell’s agility training numbers blew away NBA personnel. Mitchell exhibited the best standing vertical leap out of all the combine participants with 36.50 inches, the best three quarter sprint among all participants with 3.01 seconds, and the fourth best max vertical leap among guards with 40.50 inches. Donovan Mitchell definitely has shown NBA scouts that he is ready for the NBA and would be one of the most athletic players in the NBA Draft.
Strengths: Donovan Mitchell’s biggest strength has to be his athletic ability and physical nature. With the ability to get the ball and go, Mitchell would fit in perfectly with half-court offensive teams and teams that like to run in transition. What makes Mitchell so crafty is his ability to change speeds and directions. At Louisville, Mitchell found himself bringing the ball up the floor a lot, and was able to immediately drive to the basket as a result of a quick jab to the right/left and immediate cut to the basket from the other side. He is so unpredictable when he starts weaving through defenders on the drive and is extremely explosive running downhill. Despite being 6’3”, Mitchell shows is toughness and how strong he is by absorbing contact at the rim and throwing down alley-oops from anywhere on the floor. If Mitchell is to be a combo guard in the NBA, teams will need to see constant improvements on his assist to turnover ratio, much like this past season. He posted a 1.66 assist-turnover ratio this past season, a slight improvement from his freshman season. Overall, Donovan Mitchell is an above-average ball handler and is not afraid to keep the ball in his hands during big moments of a game. Mitchell is a very intriguing prospect as a result of his physical and athletic nature and should hear his name called early on draft night.
Weaknesses: Donovan Mitchell’s weaknesses are based on the role he will be playing in the league and for the team that drafts him. One of his “all-around” weaknesses is his inconsistency with his jump shot. This past season, Mitchell shot 40.8% from the floor for the Cards (-3.4% from 2015-16 season) and 35.4% from long range (+10.4% from 2015-16 season). When Mitchell hits a couple jumpers, he can immediately explode and punish teams, but at times when he struggled with his jumper, the whole Louisville team seemed to struggle offensively. Other than his inconsistency at shooting mid-range jumpers, Donovan Mitchell does not really exhibit any other weaknesses. One thing he can improve on is his overall point guard play, but if he gets drafted by a team who will use him as a straight two, then there is no reason for him to work upon becoming a better point guard.
Comparison: Victor Oladipo
I absolutely love comparing Donovan Mitchell’s game to that of Victor Oladipo’s when he came out of Indiana in 2013. Both of their combine measurements are almost identical to one another and both exhibit that physical explosiveness when going to the rim in traffic. Oladipo is an inch taller than Mitchell and had a slightly higher max vertical leap at his combine in 2013, but Mitchell has an inch longer wingspan and higher no step-vertical leap. Both players exhibit fluidness on the defensive end and both play very well in transition. Oladipo is a slightly better mid-range shooter, but Mitchell definitely shoots better from 3-pt range. Playing at a level like Victor Oladipo’s right out of the draft would be a very nice fit for any NBA team. Overtime, Donovan Mitchell could develop an even better jumper and become a role player like Avery Bradley, but a comparison to Oladipo seems very fair as of now. The sky’s the limit for Donovan Mitchell and he could make an immediate impact off the bench for any NBA team with his explosiveness and athletic ability.
Be sure to check out our other Top 30 Breakdowns and NBA Draft Charts: NBA Draft Big Board NBA Draft Position Rankings