Tony Mitchell Won't Have Easy Rookie Season With Detroit Pistons

By John Raffel
Andrew B. Fielding-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons announced on Friday that they have signed draft picks Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Tony Mitchell. Caldwell-Pope was selected No. 8 overall by Detroit while Mitchell was taken in the second round. It’s a solid move by the team to take care of this so quickly after the draft.

It’s almost a foregone conclusion that Caldwell-Pope will make the team and may see some quality minutes off the bench next season.

Mitchell is likely to be on the  roster, but how much he’ll contribute remains to be seen, although Josh Smith will need a backup. It’s likely he’ll have a limited role unless he comes out strong during the preseason and establish himself as a 6-foot-8 forward who can mix it up with the big boys right away.

Caldwell-Pope comes from Georgia and is the first player from that school since Dominique Wilkins in 1981 to sweep the major SEC Player of the Year awards. His credentials say it all.

But for Mitchell, here’s a forward coming off his sophomore season with 13 points, 2.7 block shots and 8.5 rebounds a game for North Texas. That’s not exactly a place that has produced a lot of NBA stars. But Mitchell was predicted to be a second-round pick and the Pistons consider themselves fortunate to get him. The blocked shots stat was especially one that makes him attractive. He is also the school’s career and single-season record holder for blocked shots. But again, he’ll be trying to block shots for an NBA team and not for North Texas.

But another thing about Mitchell that is attractive is that he can play the transition game well. Defensively, he might be a diamond in the rough for the Pistons since Mitchell will be able to guard multiple positions. He’s also active without the ball and makes strong cuts to the basket which he hopes to also do on the professional level.

It will be a tall order for Mitchell to crack into the Pistons lineup this season, but at least he gets a chance to try.

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