One word that comes to mind when thinking of Sacramento Kings rookie point guard Davion Mitchell‘s basketball career is – WINNER. The Sacramento Kings drafted the 23-year-old, 6’, 202 lb point guard Davion “Off Night’ Mitchell with the 9th selection in the 2021 NBA draft, out of Baylor University.
Hard Work Pays Off
Mitchell works hard on his craft and it has paid off. ‘Off Night’ is known to study hours his own game film, along with tape of the best guards in basketball history. On the court, Mitchell works so hard the Sacramento Kings coaching staff has had to ‘kick’ Mitchell out of the gym for working out after games, so he can go get his needed rest.
Mitchell has been a champion at multiple levels during his hoops career. In high school, Mitchell helped lead his team to a Georgia Class 4A state championship. ‘Off Night’ was the starting point guard and key contributor on the 2021 NCAA National Champion Baylor Bears. Mitchell was played an important role in helping Baylor win its first national championship, recording 15 points, six rebounds, and five assists in a 86–70 win against previously unbeaten Gonzaga in the national championship game. Mitchell even helped lead the Sacramento Kings to the 2021-22 NBA Summer League championship, where he earned tournament MVP honors!
That hard work off and on the court earned Mitchell the 2021 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award, NABC Defensive Player of the Year, and the Lefty Driesell Award as the top defensive player in the nation. Mitchell earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Big 12 honors.
All that is awesome, but how will it translate to the NBA and perhaps the WORST franchise in the ‘major three’ north American sports … the Sacramento Kings.
Ahead, I will provide stats, opinions, and predictions for Sacramento Kings rookie point guard Davion Mitchell.
Mitchell Rookie Season Stats
Mitchell has appeared in 49 games so far in his rookie campaign, starting 7 of them. His per game averages are – 10.3 points, 3.4 assists, .7 steals, 1.1 turnovers, 40.7 FG %, 47 2PT FG %, 31.6 3PT FG%, 56.1 FT % and 25.8 minutes. It will take more time for Mitchell’s offensive game/role to develop in the NBA. Mitchell needs to improve on his free throws attempted per game, currently at a meager .8 per game. That will develop with time, as he fits into his more impactful role with the Kings.
While the offensive aspect of his game matures, Mitchell has made his mark as a lockdown defender. That not only helps the Kings on the floor, but sets an example of how his teammates need to play and prepare to improve defensively. The Kings were HISTORICALLY bad on defense during the 2020-21 season, which may have been a major reason to add ‘Off Night’ Mitchell with the 9th overall selection in the draft.
NBA.com advanced stats have Mitchell as the Sacramento Kings TOP rated defender in terms of defensive win shares. That is above well-respected NBA veteran defender Mo Harkless. According to the advanced stats compiled by HashtagBasketball, Mitchell ranks 15th among rookies this year. That seems about what we should expect, with LOTS of room for REALISTIC improvement.
Starting to Shine
With the recent injury to Kings starting point guard De’Aaron Fox, Mitchell has been called to start and has made the most of his opportunity! In his recent stint as starting PG, spanning 6 games, Mitchell has put up impressive per game averages of 19 points, 7 assists and 48.5 FG%.
All Star Weekend ‘Rising Star’ Honors
Mitchell, along with Sacramento Kings sophomore sensation Tyrese Haliburton, has been selected to participate in the NBA All Star Weekend Rookie/Sophomore game! That is not only an honor for any NBA player, but some great national notoriety for two of the Kings best players!
Getting Defenisive About Our Future
“DEFENSE *CLAP CLAP* DEFENSE *CLAP CLAP*” … I can almost hear the chants ringing through Golden One Center, as Sacramento Proud fans optimistically cheer on a much-needed big defensive stop. Maybe that’s meaningful late-season game, or dare I say it … a playoff game … a Kings fan can dream, right?
That dream may be aided by Davion Mitchell.
As Mitchell matures offensively, along with continued improvement and additions to his already elite defensive skills and IQ, the Sacramento Kings will benefit tremendously!
What role will that be in the future? Back up PG to star De’Aaron Fox? Defensive stopper? Reliable late game player?
I envision Mitchell coming off of the bench, developing into a respected scorer and someone who can lead the team when Fox or Haliburton are taking a breather/injured. I also envision Mitchell getting BIG minutes late in games, using his elite defensive prowess to guard the opponents best guard, and making high IQ plays on offense.
What Do YOU Think?
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As Always, GO SACRAMENTO KINGS!