The Golden State Warriors own the No. 7 and No. 14 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft. There’s still no knowing what the Dubs will do with their two lottery picks. They can select two quality rookies in this deep 2021 class or try to package those picks to land a more NBA-ready star who could help them win now. Nonetheless, Golden State has been doing its due diligence on these prospects. Among those linked as a possible target for the Warriors is Baylor guard Davion Mitchell.
There are still questions whether the Dubs take him at 7 or 14, but that’s a different discussion entirely. If it were up to the writer, Golden State should really be sold on Mitchell if it wants to take him with the earlier pick. Should he be available at 14, the Warriors shouldn’t even think twice on taking the Baylor standout. Regardless, Davion Mitchell will be a perfect in the Bay Area. Here are three reasons why.
1. NBA-ready talent
At 22 years with lots of college experience, Mitchell is one of the most NBA-ready prospects of this class. The Warriors believe they can still eke out another championship with their aging core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Thus, Golden State needs to surround this Big Three with players who can contribute right away to help them get back to title contention.
The Dubs obviously wouldn’t ask Mitchell to play a huge role right away. They would just need him to be a spark off the bench and play within his role, which would ease some pressure off him to begin his rookie campaign. The Warriors struggled mightily last season whenever Stephen Curry sat on the bench. Having another capable playmaker like Mitchell to spell the two-time NBA MVP some minutes would be huge for them.
In addition, having won the national championship this past season, Mitchell knows what it takes it to win and has been to the big stage. Despite being a rookie, Mitchell already has some experience of playing under the bright lights. This would help him play in meaningful games for the Dubs in the postseason.
2. An menace on the defensive end
The Warriors already have an absolute dog in Draymond Green anchoring their defense. Add another menace like Mitchell on the perimeter, and Golden State’s already elite defense would only get better.
Named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Mitchell is a relentless defender who isn’t afraid to get into the jersey of his man. He provides a ton of pressure on the perimeter and moves his feet well to stay in front of the player he’s guarding. This allows him to force his man into taking tough jumpers instead of getting to rim.
It’s hard to teach defense in the NBA. Taking a player who already has the knack for it wouldn’t need much to develop. This could help the Warriors coaches focus in on improving the other weaknesses of Mitchell’s game.
In addition, with Klay Thompson coming back from two major injuries, the Dubs will likely ease him back in. Prior to his injuries, he was tasked to defend the opposing team’s top perimeter player. Taking a relentless defender like Mitchell would help take pressure off Thompson.
3. Showed potential as a shooter
Davion Mitchell showed a lot of potential as a shooter in his second season at Baylor. In 30 games, the 6-foot-1 guard shot an outstanding 44.7 percent from long range. Some people are wary that his 3-point shooting this past season may be an outlier, since he shot just 31.2 percent from 3 in his previous two campaigns with Auburn and Baylor. In addition, his below-average free-throw shooting (65.7 percent in college) could be telling that his 3-point shooting during the 2020-21 season might be a fluke.
Nonetheless, Mitchell’s steady mechanics suggest that he could eventually become a good shooter in the NBA. He was great in catch-and-shoot situations during his second year at Baylor and thrived in the corner. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s gravity would give him the necessary space he needs to thrive as a spot-up shooter early in his career.
Mitchell has also shown a willingness to move without the ball, which would bode well in Steve Kerr’s system. He is able to relocate for open shots on the perimeter, and this is something the Warriors need with defenses scrambling to defend Stephen Curry.
The Warriors made changes to their coaching staff and hired assistant coaches who are known for developing young talent. Mitchell’s NBA-ready game would allow him to focus on improving his shooting should he struggle early on during his rookie campaign.