Donovan Mitchell developed into a two-way force for the Louisville Cardinals from his freshman to sophomore campaigns, and the result is a spot in the NBA.
The Denver Nuggets drafted Mitchell with the No. 13 pick Thursday.
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KSL's Andy Larsen highlighted that Mitchell has already shown an affinity for the Jazz:
Andy Larsen @andyblarsen
Donovan Mitchell said this about Utah a month ago: https://t.co/TZ5vnnF88C2017-6-23 00:56:30
Scout's Evan Daniels provided a brief scouting report for the Cardinals star:
Evan Daniels @EvanDaniels
Donovan Mitchell emerged during his last summer of HS. Tough kid. Two-way player. Rapidly improving shooter & I think he will continue to.2017-6-23 01:03:50
The New York Mets and Brooklyn Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead congratulated Mitchell:
New York Mets @Mets
Congrats @spidadmitchell, son of Donovan Mitchell Sr. our Dir. of Player Relations/Community Engagement for being drafted. #NBADraft2017 https://t.co/cpZRwKlz7H2017-6-23 00:59:42
Isaiah Whitehead @IsaiahW_15
Congrats To The Fellow New Yorker @spidadmitchell 💯 #NYC 🗽2017-6-23 00:59:08
Matt Kamalsky of DraftExpress described Mitchell as "among the most explosive players in the country" with "terrific lateral quickness, giving him intriguing potential on the defensive end." Kamalsky projected Mitchell as someone who could defend both guard positions because of that quickness and his overall physical strength, and that was before he averaged 2.1 steals a night as a sophomore.
Mitchell also improved his offensive game as a sophomore, as evidenced by his 15.6 points per game.
The offensive resurgence after posting just 7.4 points a night as a freshman bolstered his stock, especially since his three-point percentage improved from 25.0 to 35.4. In today's perimeter-oriented NBA, Mitchell will likely need to be a consistent threat from three-point range to see significant playing time right away.
He proved he can be just that with the Cardinals and now has the chance to reach his potential at the next level for the Jazz.
His defensive prowess is a perfect fit for Utah considering it was No. 3 in the league in defensive rating in 2016-17, per NBA.com. If he demonstrates the defense he did in college, he can earn a spot in the rotation as soon as his rookie season.
Mitchell also gives the Jazz a backcourt insurance policy in case George Hill doesn't return.