Sacramento Kings rookie point guard Davion Mitchell powered his Baylor Bears to an NCAA Championship this past spring with his electric speed and his tenacity on defense. His first professional season hasn’t even officially gotten underway and it’s abundantly clear that he’ll be bringing those traits to the NBA.
Mitchell showed off his plethora of skills on Monday night in Las Vegas as his Kings took on the Charlotte Hornets in Summer League. The 22-year-old got the start for Sacramento at point guard and he didn’t disappoint.
The Kings No. 9 overall pick scored just 10 points but dished out nine assists without a single turnover. He posted a +16 in just 28 minutes and led his team to a comfortable 80-70 win.
However, it was Mitchell’s defense that stole the show on Monday night. On multiple occasions, he completely suffocated Hornets rookie point guard James Bouknight with his relentless pressure. As Charlotte tried to inbound the ball late in the fourth quarter, Mitchell jumped the passing lane and started a fast break before dropping the ball off for an easy lay-up.
Many NBA fans didn’t know what to expect from the 22-year-old point guard when he came off the board in the top-10 in the draft. Considering he stands at just six feet tall, concerns arose about his ability to stay on the court against the league’s bigger ballhandlers.
Monday’s defensive performance impressed many who tuned in and quieted any lingering doubts that might’ve existed about Mitchell’s effort. The reactions to his showing indicated that many now believe he could be a strong defender in his first season with the Kings.
damn. Davion Mitchell, game. pic.twitter.com/M3CKxPSfs6
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) August 10, 2021
What Davion Mitchell just did to James Bouknight is illegal in 37 states
— Nekias (Nuh-KY-us) Duncan (@NekiasNBA) August 9, 2021
James Bouknight vs Davion Mitchell pic.twitter.com/hsHm3WOViW
— Chris Watkins (@ChrisMWatkins) August 9, 2021
Davion Mitchell’s defense is insane. The Kings are really going to benefit from having a stopper like him on the roster.
— Franklin Cartoscelli (@FCartoscelli3) August 9, 2021
Davion Mitchell has on-ball defense highlights.
— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) August 9, 2021
I think it’s safe to say Davion Mitchell is going to make a lot of all NBA defensive teams in his career
Kings finally have a shut down defender they can throw at opposing guards
Off night the real deal 🔥
— SactownPete (@PMasih007) August 9, 2021
“But Davion Mitchell is 22 years old and …”
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) August 10, 2021
Davion Mitchell gettin’ shifty early 👀 pic.twitter.com/ehBlFAATcK
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 9, 2021
Last season at Baylor, Mitchell averaged 14.0 points, 5.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He also shot an impressive 44.7 percent from beyond the arc, which should bode well for his transition to the NBA.
Mitchell will need to keep giving maximum effort for the rest of the offseason to find significant playing time in Sacramento’s crowded backcourt. The Kings already have two young guards in De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton that will be ready to make another leap this season, so the 2021 rookie will need to carve out a unique role for himself.
If Mitchell keeps up his tenacious defensive effort, he’ll surely be ready to go for Sacramento’s season opener.
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