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Prospect Preview: Donovan Mitchell

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Mitchell could be the answer to the Hornets shooting guard woes.

NCAA Basketball: Long Beach State at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday night is rapidly approaching and the Hornets should just about have their big board set. We all know by now that there are around 8 to 10 high quality, potentially elite players in this draft class, and well, Charlotte has the 11th pick. Go figure, right? So let’s throw away any hopes of someone like Malik Monk slipping right into our hands. For God’s sake, please let that happen. But since it wont let’s set our sights on a more realistic option. Louisville combo-guard, Donovan Mitchell.

A wee bit undersized for an NBA shooting guard, Mitchell only stands at 6’3 and weighs in at around 195 pounds. 6’3 may sound bad when you think about him trying to guard bigger guards in the league like a Klay Thompson, Bradley Beal, or DeMar DeRozan, all of which stand at around 6’6, 6’7.

However, what Mitchell lacks in height he makes up with his 6’10 wingspan, which is pretty impressive for someone of his size. That arm length made it extremely hard for players to shoot over him in college. He was able to guard just about anyone in the back court and even played big enough to guard some forwards, we’ll have to see how that translates over in the NBA.

It also helped him bring down tough rebounds, and shown below:

He also never relaxes on defense and it shows with his aggressive play when playing on and off the ball. He can anticipate passes very well and his length helps him to make quick jumps in the passing lanes, because of this Mitchell averaged a solid 2.1 steals per game last season.

On the offensive side of the ball, Mitchell was an efficient scorer and capable play maker, averaging 15.6 points, and 2.7 assists per game. Mitchell’s explosive athleticism allows him to beat defenders off the dribble in transition and get to the basket efficiently. He’s also extremely quick, posting the fastest 34 sprint at the draft combine this year, and his ability to finish at and above the rim should definitely be respected.

To go along with his finishing and speed, Mitchell proved to be a fairly decent three point shooter, shooting 35.4 percent from behind the arch — 40.8 percent overall. He’s got a pretty solid shooting form, so if he can improve his percentage then Mitchell has the potential to be a solid two way player in the league.

His effort and high motor goes without saying. All one has to do is watch any of his games to see he actually cares about winning a game. He’s a guy who will be at the bottom of the pile on every loose ball, and not come up crying about being on the ground.

Donovan Mitchell and Grayson Allen dive for loose ball. Editor’s note: I am here for the face slap.

Mitchell could very well be the wing player the Hornets have been looking for. Someone who can score at an efficient rate and guard the best player in the back court. Having someone who can take over that defensive responsibility in the back court will surely help Kemba Walker save some of his energy for the offensive end.

Just the idea of having a back court consisting of Walker and literally anybody who can decently shoot a three pointer is enough to get me on board, to be quite honest.

Also the guy wore number 45 at Louisville. This is basically the return of M.J.