The New York Knicks have long been rumored to be targeting a point guard or potentially a big man in the 2013 NBA Draft, but is there a chance they could go a different direction altogether?
In Chad Ford’s latest mock draft on ESPN, he has the Knicks selecting North Texas forward Tony Mitchell, which would be a bit of a surprise.
It may not turn out to be that much of a surprise if Mitchell impresses the Knicks in a workout, which he will get the chance to do on Friday. Mitchell will be part of a group working out for the Knicks that also includes: Ricky Ledo, Tahj Tate, Adonis Thomas, Christian Watford and Grant Jerrett.
However Mitchell is the biggest name here.
He’s a guy who likely would have been a first-round pick last year had he not elected to return to school, but this year he’s all but assured of going in the first round and could be on the board when the Knicks pick at No. 24.
Mitchell has the upside of a top-10 pick, but he was in an awful situation in North Texas last season and didn’t put up great numbers, averaging only 13.0 points and 8.5 rebounds, numbers down from the 14.7 points and 10.3 boards he averaged in 2012 as a freshman. In addition his field goal percentage dropped from 56.7 percent as a freshman to only 44 percent last season. He struggled from behind the arc as well as he saw his three-point percentage take a dive from 43.9 percent to only 30 percent as a sophomore.
His mediocre season might have been the best he could have done in an awful situation at North Texas with very little talent around him.
But he’s an elite athlete and a terrific rebounder, something the Knicks could use both of in their frontcourt.
Physically he is long and explosive and has great speed and quickness for a forward. He also excels in transition and has a motor that doesn’t quit.
Defensively he can guard multiple positions, which would help him fit right into Mike Woodson’s system.
However while Mitchell sounds great as a prospect, he is a bit of a risk.
If one day everything clicks and he plays to his potential, then Mitchell could be a future NBA star. However if he doesn’t reach that potential, there’s a good chance he never becomes much more than an average player at best.
However the Knicks have shown that they have never been afraid of taking risks.
That alone makes the chances of drafting Mitchell a strong one.
Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.