Target #2: Davion Mitchell, Sacramento Kings
Mitchell was a top-10 pick for the Kings in 2021 but has quickly fallen out of favor and basically out of the rotation in Sacramento. His issues are apparent, as Mitchell is only 6’2” and hasn’t shown the offensive chops to be a lead ball handler or an efficient shooter in the NBA.
But one of the things that made Mitchell such an attractive prospect coming out of college was his tenacious defense. He’s always been a lockdown defender, even at the highest level, and has shown an ability to shut down even elite NBA guards.
He’s also extremely competitive and is clearly a guy who “has that dog in him” so to speak, which was on full display when he helped lead Baylor to a national championship.
His skill set hasn’t been a great fit with the Kings, but his fit could make a lot of sense for the Hornets. He’d have the luxury of playing with a true point guard in Ball, who is 6’7”, so Mitchell’s height wouldn’t be as big an issue. He’d add much-needed defense and would do wonders for the Hornets' culture. Mitchell could lock up the opposing team’s best perimeter player every night while being able to let Ball run the show on offense.
To really make this work, Mitchell would have to at least become an average three-point shooter, but I think there is some hope, as he shot 45% from distance in his final year of college. Still just 25, Mitchell is a perfect buy-low candidate for the rebuilding Hornets. He’s still on his rookie deal, and his next year is a team option. So it’s essentially a risk-free move for the Hornets, and if it works out he could become a key part of the core.
The cost to acquire Davion should not be prohibitive at all. The Kings are trying to win now, and have little to no use for Mitchell. They would likely move him for any rotation-level player who could help them now, so maybe Cody Martin would do the trick. The Kings were also rumored to be interested in Miles Bridges recently. If the Hornets could get a first-round pick for Miles and get Mitchell thrown in, that would be a huge win.