Dub Nation HQ Draft Tourney: #1 Davion Mitchell vs. #16 Jaden Springer

Battle of the hustling, defending, energizing winners

The whole tournament is at 2021 Dub Nation HQ Draft Tournament.

Your mission is to decide which of these two you would prefer the Warriors draft at #7 this year. I’ll bring the scouting reports, you bring the vote.


Davion Mitchell

He is the current conventional wisdom pick for the Warriors:

Profile from Sports-Reference.com

Wizzy’s Comps.

  • Per 40. Duane Cooper, Will Blalock, Antonio Burks, Adonis Jordan, Mario Chalmers, Michael Gbinije, Lee Mayberry, Kirk Hinrich, Daniel Ewing

  • Advanced. Shane Larkin, Khyri Thomas, Tyrese Haliburton, Jared Butler, Michael Gbinije, Darius Miller, Grayson Allen, Chris Duarte, Patrick McCaw

NBA Draft Room Comp: Kemba, Jarrett Jack+

Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: The big riser of the NCAA Tournament, Mitchell was one of the best two-way players in the country. He won the national Defensive Player of the Year award due to his toughness at the point of attack. He took on a variety of assignments too, from smaller guards all the way up to guys like Cunningham. But where he made his mark this year was on offense, where Mitchell actualized the tools he has in terms of speed and quickness and became an extremely high-level table-setter as a passer. On top of that, he hit nearly 45 percent from 3. His game looks tailor-made and ready to play in the NBA.

Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: SHADES OF Jrue Holiday, Donovan Mitchell, Norman Powell

Taking Mitchell is a win-now move. He can join any team and immediately be an impactful defender. But he has upside on offense after blossoming as a shot creator this past season. Mitchell is the type of player who could help the Warriors now and later.

Elite competitor who took an offensive leap as a junior to become a lottery talent.

  • Ballhandling

  • On-Ball Defense

  • Off-Ball Defense

  • Hustle

PLUSES

  • Dynamic shot creator who has a speedy first step and can change directions on a dime. He shifts gears with his dribble to keep opponents off-balance, creating space for pull-up jumpers or drives to the rim.

  • Made a huge leap as a 3-point shooter, going from 31 percent over his first two seasons to 45 percent as a junior. It could be an outlier season, but he looks the part.

  • Comfortable finishing below the rim with either hand. On his drives, he plays with patience using subtle hesitations and fakes.

  • Good playmaker who delivers accurate passes to spot-up shooters and rolling bigs. He also looks comfortable handling pressure.

  • Excellent defender who sets the tone with his intensity, focus, and hustle. He’ll sprint for chase-down blocks, take charges, and dive for loose balls.

  • Switchable defender with active hands who’s excellent at moving laterally against quick guards. He’s also strong and tough enough to handle larger scorers.

  • Disciplined pick-and-roll defender who can fight through screens and stick to his man.

  • High-IQ off-ball defender who is always in the right position, makes smart rotations, and closes out quickly on shooters.

MINUSES

  • Lacks the type of wingspan possessed by most elite defenders.

  • Below-the-rim finisher who lacks elite athleticism and could struggle against NBA rim protectors.

  • Rarely got to the free throw line in college.

  • Subpar free throw shooter, which raises questions about his high 3-point shooting percentage as a junior.

Hollinger, The Athletic: Everyone has a visceral reaction to ball-pressure guys, and Mitchell was probably the best in college basketball. His lateral quickness is insane; nobody could get by him off the dribble. Mitchell combines that with a bulldog mentality and a zest for taking charges. He’ll be a Patrick Beverley or Avery Bradley type checking other point guards, a real pain in the ass to play against.

Mitchell was also one of the country’s most improved players at the offensive end. He shot 44.7 percent from 3-point range last season and showed real growth as an on-ball distributor, although Mitchell and Butler (above) alternated responsibilities in the backcourt. Mitchell also has a tremendous blow-by gear to the rim and shot a stellar 56.5 percent inside the arc.

That said, there are concerns here. Mitchell has a good frame, but he’s going to look small in the NBA; I question his listed height of 6-foot-2, although we’ll find out more at this week’s Combine. One other notable red flag is that his rebound rate was embarrassing. He only grabbed 3.9 boards per 100 possessions in Big 12 play, the worst rate of any quasi-significant prospect in this draft.

Offensively, his 3-point shooting from last season may be an outlier; he still only hit 64.1 percent from the line, and finished his career at 65.7 percent. Even comparing usage rates this year, Butler had far more of the offense on his shoulders than Mitchell. To add, Mitchell also virtually never draws fouls. He’s also one of the older players in this draft, turning 22 in September.

In an offense-first league, I still have a hard time seeing starter upside in Mitchell at that end. His defense will surely keep him on the court, and his work ethic and intangibles will push him up draft boards as well, but today’s NBA is a tough place for ball-pressure guys to shine.


Jaden Springer

Profile from Sports-Reference.com

Wizzy’s Comps.

  • Per 40. Kira Lewis Jr., Wade Baldwin, Kyrie Irving, William Avery, Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Cade Cunningham, Jeff Teague, Tre Mann

  • Advanced. Keon Johnson, Kira Lewis Jr., Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Cade Cunningham, Dennis Smith Jr., Tyus Jones, Tony Wroten, Archie Goodwin, Dejounte Murray

Jon Chepkevich: Statistical best comparisons are

  1. Jeff Teague

  2. Josh Okogie

  3. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

  4. Wade Baldwin IV

  5. Saben Lee

NBA Draft Room Comp: DeShawn Stevenson+

Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: Springer had a strong freshman season for the Vols, since he often played as an off-guard, his advanced numbers and analytics are going to be quite strong for his age. And similarly to Johnson above, Springer was tremendous late in the season. He averaged 16 points, four rebounds and three assists in his final 11 games, finally getting a chance to show off why he was a five-star prospect. He’s also a terrific defender. Having said that, I’ve found that Springer’s game isn’t loved by many scouts. He plays almost solely off two feet and doesn’t seem to get the most out of his athleticism. There’s a degree of bully-ball here. He’s going to have to adjust his game to have success at the next level.

Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: SHADES OF Kyle Lowry, Malcolm Brogdon

Energizer on both ends of the floor who consistently makes winning plays, but needs to fine-tune his shot-creation abilities.

  • Hustle

  • On-Ball Defense

  • Off-Ball Defense

  • Feel for the Game

PLUSES

  • Tenacious on-ball defender who can get into a scorer’s grill and bother them by mirroring their movement and using quick hands to swat at the ball. Isn’t highly versatile but will battle on a switch versus larger players.

  • Communicative off-ball defender who vocalizes rotations and always seems to be aware of what’s happening. An energizer on the court.

  • Drives to the rim like a running back shredding tacklers and can hit shots through the contact. If he can’t get to the rim, he has a soft floater.

  • Decisive decision-maker who has great timing as a passer locating cutters and shooters. Shows early signs of being able to manipulate defenders to open passing windows, though he’ll need to improve his handle.

  • Good shooting potential. Hit more than 80 percent of his free throws and nearly 40 percent of spot-up 3s, though both were on a small sample.

  • Always seems to be in control. Lacks a great first step and dynamic dribble moves but moves with purpose. Uses change of pace and excellent body control to fire difficult passes. Would be best suited in a multi–ball handler offense that promotes sharing the ball.

  • Produces at a high level despite sharing a backcourt with multiple talented players—which shows his ability to coexist with other talent.

MINUSES

  • Takes way too long to unleash his shot off the catch, which gives defenders time to close out. Even if he’s still open, he’ll often pass up opportunities.

  • Struggled to shoot pull-up jumpers from close range and took very few from outside of 17 feet. Has tried only nine dribble-jumper 3s.

  • Lacks burst and a creative handle to break down defenders one-on-one. It’s pivotal that he adds more dynamic moves.

  • Below-the-rim finisher who frequently has shots blocked or altered when contested. Was inefficient scoring in the pick-and-roll, and things will only get harder in the NBA since he won’t be able to overpower defenders.

Hollinger, The Athletic: I went back and forth several times on Springer, but ultimately I lean toward betting on him for two reasons. First, his birth certificate. Springs won’t turn 19 until September, so he still has time on his side to push his development forward.

The other reason to bet on him is his defense. Whatever you think of his offensive game, the defense was legit. Springer is a bit short for a shooting guard and a bit slow for a point guard, but he’s strong, competes, moves his feet and keeps his hands active. He’ll need that kind of feistiness and attention to make it at the next level because he’s not a superior athlete, though the defense should buy him time for the offense to come around.

As for the offense … the eye test wasn’t as bullish as the stats. Springer made 43.5 percent of his 3s, but it was on extremely low volume for a guard (just 46 all year), and his jumper appears to have a slight hitch (this is where seeing games in person would have been helpful, but c’est la …). Instead, he is hugely reliant on pull-up 2s that he may have a hard time getting to against NBA defenses.

Springer is strong enough to body himself some space for his shot at times, and he does elevate pretty well and have a high release point, but at 6-foot-4 without crazy hops, it’s a tough shot to count on. More reliably, perhaps, is drawing fouls, which he also did at a high rate, and his free throw shooting (81 percent) offers some hope for his overall shooting.

No matter what, he’ll need to cut down on the turnovers that plagued him as a freshman; as with Johnson above, playing in a real offense might help.


Your Vote

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