Tony Mitchell surprisingly fell to the Pistons in the second round, and they gladly picked him between Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Peyton Siva. He’ll again fall between the Pistons’ other two 2013 draft picks, coming in at No. 366 ESPN’s #NBArank.
Many considered Mitchell a first-round prospect entering the draft, and he passed a few players who were actually drafted in the first round:
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (No. 15 pick, No. 376 rank)
- Solomon Hill (No. 23 pick, No. 383 rank)
- Steven Adams (No. 12 pick, No. 406 rank)
- Andre Roberson (No. 26 pick, No. 409 rank)
- Rudy Gobert (No. 27 pick, No. 423 rank)
- Nemanja Nedovic (No. 30 pick, No. 447 rank)
To me, it’s interesting Mitchell ranks so closely to someone he really reminds me of: No. 369 Tyrus Thomas.
Both are athletic, long power forwards who like to shoot (not to be confused with being good at shooting). They both have nice instincts for blocking shots and using their athleticism to corral rebounds. Obviously, Thomas has been a bust based on his draft position (No. 4 in 2006), but if Mitchell has a Thomas-like career, that’s a steal in the second round.
When I talked to Mitchell at the Orlando Summer League, he came off as a really nice kid. He’s genuine, and he knows what people said about him before the draft. He’s still a limited player offensively, but in Orlando, he seemed to quiet that pre-Draft questioning of his motor and willingness to play hard consistently a little.
Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond are sure-fire bets to play big minutes in the Pistons’ front court. After that, Jonas Jerebko, Charlie Villanueva and Mitchell can all bring something unique to the table as a power forward. It’s up to Mitchell to prove he belonged in the first round, and he can start by earning Maurice Cheeks’ trust in practice and getting on the court regularly this season.