With the 9th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings selected Davion Mitchell. The 6'2" defensive specialist out of Baylor is exactly what the Kings were looking for in this draft. Though many expected them to improve their frontcourt with their first-round pick, the Kings opted to draft a point guard. As a result, Mitchell joins a backcourt in Sacramento with speedster De'Aaron Fox and second-year guard Tyrese Haliburton. On NBA TV last night, Haliburton reacted to the Kings picking Davion Mitchell and had some great things to say.
"I played against Davion twice in college my sophomore year so I know exactly what he brings to the table. I'm really excited. Ready to have another guy come in here with a lot of energy and be willing to dig in defensively. He can really, really guard, he wants to guard all night. He can do a lot of different things, so I'm really excited."Tyrese Haliburton via Sean Cunningham
Mitchell and the Baylor Bears got the best Haliburton and the Iowa State Cyclones in each of their two matchups during the 2019-2020 NCAA season. Haliburton played all 40 minutes in their first meeting, but Mitchell held him to just six points and nine assists. In the second, Hali played the whole game again, dropping in a respectable 17 points but only dishing three dimes.
Tyrese spoke about his experiences being guarded by the youngster they call "Off-Night" in the reaction interview. He didn't receive this nickname because of his own performances. Instead, he got it because his opponents typically have an off-night whenever Mitchell guards them. Mitchell won all three National Awards for defensive abilities last year. He's arguably the best defender in the entire draft class. It's a very valuable addition for the Kings, who were historically bad on the defensive end last year.
"He guarded me full-court for 2 games. There's not many guys that succeeded guarding me; he did a really good job."Tyrese Haliburton via Sean Cunningham
With the addition of Mitchell, the Kings currently have five rotational guards on the roster. Six if you include Terence Davis, whom they extended the qualifying offer to. At the moment, it's Fox, Haliburton, Mitchell, Delon Wright, Davis, and Buddy Hield, who is likely to be on the move. Despite the Lakers shifting their interest from Hield to Russell Westbrook, Hield still likely plays for a new ball club by the start of the season. Thus, Mitchell should be able to find meaningful minutes to help out Sacramento next year.