A lot of people made fun of the Sacramento Kings when they took Davion Mitchell with the 9th overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft.
Standing at 6'2'' and with a questionable offensive repertoire, some thought that the Kings just read too much into the NCAA Tourney hype and that he would struggle in the NBA. Moreover, having De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton already made it an even more questionable pick at the time.
Nonetheless, Mitchell has left his teammates in awe with the defensive prowess and the physicality he plays, up to the point where De'Aaron Fox even called him a top-5 on-ball defender in the NBA:
“When he’s locked in on the ball, it’s like... it’s crazy to watch,” Fox told the media. “The way he’s able to stop and go, shit hurts me leg just watching, but he’s such a great on-ball defender. Like, in the league right now, he’s top-five, I’d say, on-ball defenders in the league right now and when you watch him, it’s just amazing.”
“He does stuff on the ball you just can’t teach. That’s what’s making him great but on the other hand, I tell him, ‘Man, go out there and do what you do. You’re going to be out there to make plays for us, make it easier on guys to score the ball.’ He does everything and I think he’s going to do everything at a high level, especially, once he gets used to playing at the NBA level,” he added.
Mitchell's skill set will allow Luke Walton to roll with three-guard lineups more often than not, using his defensive ability next to Fox's playmaking and Haliburton's scoring:
"Mitchell is showing an ability to produce on the other end too, having averaged 11.3 points (47.5 percent overall, 50 percent from 3) and 5.5 assists in Vegas for the undefeated Kings (4-0). And to hear Kings officials tell it, they’re optimistic about the idea of routinely running three-guard lineups."
Maybe, Davion Mitchell wasn't what the Kings needed. They already had an up-and-coming backcourt that turned a lot of heads last season.
But Mitchell has all the little things that can't be measured or taught, and sometimes those are the players who fare better in the Association.