Draft profiles: Tony Mitchell, 6'9, 235 lbs, PF, North Texas

Draft profiles: Tony Mitchell, 6'9, 235 lbs, PF, North Texas

Athletically, Mitchell is a freak athlete at either PF/SF position with elite speed, lateral quickness, and hops for a PF. If willing to accept that role, then he could become a major steal in the draft with the athletic advantages he can bring to the table.

Size

While slightly undersized for a PF, at 6’9, Mitchell possesses an impressive 7’3 wingspan to make up for it.  Combine this with a solid weight and his freak athletic ability and Mitchell should be a plus at the PF position other than key crafty players posting him up.

Off-Court Issues

There are no big notable issues with Mitchell, but he has been questioned for eligibility in the past and it delayed a year of playing basketball.

Basketball IQ and Will to Want It

There are major question marks for Mitchell and his will to want it.  As a freak athlete at the Power Forward position at a smaller Division I school, he took a step back in every category this season at North Texas. To add to this, he appears to lack motivation.

On top of that, Mitchell lacks basketball IQ.   At his best, Mitchell is slashing to the basket on cuts, off the dribble, or running the court.  However, Mitchell spent more time trying to utilize his weak jump shot and seemed content to keep jacking them up. To add to this he also took a step back in rebounding (while still solid) which is his biggest strength defensively. 

Mitchell seems raw in terms of understanding the game and just by being a hustle player at his size, he could be a very good player.  It seems like Mitchell spent time trying to be a small-forward which is not his strength [Tyrus Thomas complex].

Skill

Mitchell’s best skills are based around his athletic ability, especially when he hustles.  Offensively, Mitchell is best in using his solid handles to get to the rack and finishing in the paint.  Mitchell could play as a solid role player in the NBA based on his pick-setting ability and the ability to flash to the paint to finish. 

When successful, he's out working players and out running them down the court.  While these are all strengths, in limited dosages, Mitchell could be successful in using a mid-range jumper with some improvement.  If he hones this skill down the road, he could be a very good offensive player but has work to do.

Defensively, Mitchell does very well on timing block shots (2.7).  He is also a very good rebounder when he puts his mind to rebounding also (8.5 this year – down from the year before).  Mitchell also has the ability to be a good pick-and-roll defender due to his physical build, his long wing-span to disrupt passing lanes, and great lateral quickness.

Stating all this, Mitchell has many weaknesses. Offensively, Mitchell has no low-post moves and is not a very reliable shooter from anywhere outside of 5 feet.  Defensively, Mitchell struggles defending the low post and doesn't maximize his athletic gifts.

Overall

Overall, Mitchell is one of the best athletes in this draft if not the best athlete in this draft.  Mitchell might have done well trying to prove his hustle ability for one more year even in a loaded draft for next year.  However, he has many tools to be one of the best players in this draft. 

The question becomes does he show that will to carve out a career at the next level.  Maxed out, Mitchell reminds me of Josh Smith, but not matched out he reminds me of former bull, Tyrus Thomas.  He really showed a lot to be desired this year and for this reason, I think he is more than likely to be more like Tyrus Thomas.  Some people/players can change, but it is not the norm.

How does he fit with the Bulls?

The Bulls need more athleticism and Mitchell provides that.  If Mitchell maximized his ability, Mitchell would fit well with any team including the Bulls.   If I felt confident about maximizing his talents, I would think he would be a nice backup Power Forward and Taj could be expendable.

Stating all this, I don’t think Mitchell is the right player for the Bulls and I would be disappointed on taking a chance on him.  Mitchell while an athletic player at the Power Forward position, also does not show much will and shows limited basketball IQ.  In a crucial moment of the game in the playoffs, this could be the difference between winning or losing an important game.  I also feel that while Mitchell has immense talent, it will take time to utilize that talent.

My impressions

My impressions are that I feel Mitchell can carve a nice niche for a team if he knows and uses his strengths.  Maybe some team will take him and say all I want you to do is board, block shots, and run the court and he can build a core to build upon.  To me right now the best type of team to take him is a team in need of talent and having multiple picks in the first round.  Some teams that fit the bill are the Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, and the Atlanta Hawks.  If he pans out, he could be a very good player coming from a solid but superstar depleted draft.

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  • If the Bulls take a chance on a kid, I would like them to do on Livio Jean-Charles. Seems like the combo forward has the ability to actually play well at either position. Are you doing a piece on him soon?

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Actually I like the way you think. Though right now it seems Jean-Charles is a late first/early second. I will try, but there are so many possibilities at pick 20!

  • It also seems that Jean-Charles will be a 3/4, and the Bulls seem very likely to take a 2 and 5 with their two picks. Now maybe if they add some picks (I am all for that). I have seen a couple mock drafts that do have the Bulls taking Tony Mitchell at 20. I am intrigued by his athleticism but spooked when I hear Tyrus Thomas. Hopefully coach Thibs could motivate him better.

  • Before you even got there, Based on your decription, I was thinking Tyrus Thomas, we can't afford to take that kind of chance again.

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