Tony Mitchell had an NBA Summer League performance that was so impressive that he has gone from a second-round draft pick that would have been fighting for a roster spot to one that might find playing time for the Detroit Pistons.
It would be hard to imagine where Mitchell would fit into a group of forwards when the Pistons have Luigi Datome, Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, Charlie Villanueva and Josh Smith, plus others, handling the inside game. But if Mitchell continues to progress and show the Pistons he can get the job done for them at forward, new coach Maurice Cheeks is likely to give him plenty of minutes.
In the brief time the Pistons have watched him, the 6-foot-8 Mitchell has shown that his aggressiveness inside can’t be ignored. He can give Detroit playing minutes while Cheeks is resting Smith, and Mitchell can make sure the Pistons don’t miss a beat.
His new team likes the fact that he is active without the ball and makes strong, aggressive cuts to the basket, which he should be able to do frequently in the NBA.
He’s from North Texas, but Mitchell has developed the skills to be a reliable, aggressive inside player, and is coming off his sophomore season with 13 points, 2.7 block shots and 8.5 rebounds a contest. During summer action, he had nearly nine points and seven rebounds a game. The more experience he gets, the more likely it is Mitchell will give the Pistons solid minutes so the starters can rest.
He probably won’t make a major impact on the team this year and maybe not in the short term. But if there’s an injury or if another inside player falters for the Pistons, Mitchell is likely to be an impact player of sorts for Detroit. Regardless, the Pistons are glad to have him on their side.