Tony Mitchell is very possibly one of those draft picks by the Detroit Pistons who impresses during the Summer League and preseason, but never starts or sees much playing time during the regular season. He could end up being a throw-in piece by the Pistons in a future trade they make for some premium player in their hopes for an NBA title.
Mitchell had a good summer season for Detroit with 7.89 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while playing alongside teammate Andre Drummond.
The Pistons like Mitchell’s energy and the fact that he’s all over the floor, but it will take some time before he emerges as a role player for them. He’s backing up Greg Monroe at power forward, and Josh Smith would probably relish the chance to play there.
There’s also Charlie Villanueva, who the Pistons will probably use as much as possible to get their $8 million worth. His game-changing athleticism is what really intrigues the Pistons.
Detroit insists that it can take its time with Mitchell and doesn’t have to throw him to the wolves right way. It’s a similar strategy to what they used with Drummond. It worked somewhat, but late last season, the Pistons relented to pressure from the fans and local media to start playing Drummond more.
It’s likely that Mitchell won’t see much playing time this season, so the Pistons have to figure out other avenues where he can hone his skills and get ready for the NBA. If he does have the potential to be an excellent professional player, the Pistons need to find that out as soon as possible.