Knicks Draft: Is Davion Mitchell an option?

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Marcus Smart, Knicks. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks: Davion Mitchell Player Comparisons

There are a couple of names that I’ve heard in comparison but Marcus Smart is the one that is mentioned the most. I personally wouldn’t compare 2013 Marcus Smart to Davion Mitchell just yet as Davion simply does not have the same length or physicality as Smart. But then again, we can argue that Mitchell wouldn’t need to guard centers from time to time like Smart is currently needing to do. So the arm length could be a non-factor.

There is also more hope in Mitchell to be a serviceable shooter from the perimeter than what Marcus Smart turned out to be. Nonetheless, Marcus Smart was going to be a top 10 pick no matter what in 2014 (he went 6th to the Celtics), and had he opted for the 2013 draft, he would’ve gone higher.

So it’s still a bit premature to call Mitchell the next Marcus Smart as Mitchell may not even be a pick in the lottery. But the defensive intensity is there and his efficient shooting will leave Mitchell as a very intriguing talent in this year’s draft. I can’t see Mitchell guarding forwards or centers for long stretches of time but for guards in the perimeter, Mitchell seems to have the ability and the lateral agility to be successful in the NBA in that regard.

If Mitchell can project to be the perimeter defender that Smart is right now, the comparison can stand. But currently, he feels closer to a taller Ty Lawson with more defensive upside and lower passing capabilities.

Davion Mitchell’s fit with The Knicks

Derrick Rose and Elfrid Payton’s contracts are off the books after this season and Frank Ntilikina will hit restricted free agency. I’m not sure what Ntilikina will command in the open market but unless the Knicks match whatever offer Frank signs, the Knicks are left with just Immanuel Quickley under contract at the point guard position.

Derrick Rose may re-sign considering his relationship with Tom Thibodeau but I’m not sure if Leon Rose will offer the contract that Derrick Rose will want. I don’t see Leon Rose bringing back Elfrid Payton with all the current scrutiny and Leon Rose may be willing to let the adored Frank Ntilikina walk if the offer sheet is too high. That leaves us with Immanuel Quickley.

While Quickley has regressed a bit defensively as of late, he has shown that he has the lateral quickness to be a decent defender in the NBA. He is also shooting .370 in 3 point percentages with 5.1 attempts. However, he cannot body defenders because of his lack of mass. He’s not short for a point guard at 6’3” but has a skinny frame so there are some visible struggles when fighting through screens or when overpowered by physical guards. Nonetheless, he has been exceeding all expectations this season by providing perimeter defending, scoring, and floor spacing off the bench. But even with Quickley, the Knicks are currently in need of a 3 and D point guard that can score.

I believe Davion Mitchell can fit that role for this Knicks roster to share the point guard minutes with Quickley. With both Mitchell and Quickley, Tom Thibodeau can have a perimeter defender that can shoot three’s for the entire game. Both have shown promises as facilitators and while Quickley’s role has been focused on scoring, there were the few flashes of facilitating an offense.

While Mitchell is a willing passer, he may not transition right away in the NBA as the lead facilitator. But the Knicks are at their best with Julius Randle as the point forward so as long as Mitchell can hit the open man, the Knicks may find success as Mitchell at the point guard position.

This era is known as the “Golden Age of Point Guards” and that speaks volumes to the level of talent at the point guard position across the league. It’s only logical to invest in pieces to stop the point guards in the league which the Knicks have been fairly unsuccessful at for almost a decade now.

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