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Tony Mitchell: Three Position Versatility?

arambone
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Tony Mitchell: Three Position Versatility?

This guy is so polarizing, even inside my own head. He cost himself millions of dollars by not even pretending to hustle during a disaster of a season. In doing so, he also showed zero leadership. I recall a teammate defending him somewhat by saying that Mitchell is not a natural go-to scorer, it's just not in his personality. That re-enforces the zero leadership diagnosis, but also suggests that the early season injuries to the two other best shooters may have affected Mitchell more than it might have affected somebody like Anthony Bennett, an alpha personality more comfortable with all eyes on them.

Mitchell might just have more of a follower personality, the kind of guy who copies the energy and leadership of the teammates around him.

As a Celtics fan, I was high on Mitchell at pick 16 before and after the combine, but realized that Plumlee can provide much of what Mitchell can but with a higher, safer motor and center versatility as well, which the Celtics need.

Now I'm back to giving Mitchell a bigger benefit of the doubt about his motor and dependability in the future.

Signs point to KG coming back for one more year, and it is quite possible that Mitchell responds well to KGs demanding leadership and mentoring. Mitchell could really make great strides as a defender under KG, and come closer to fulfilling his great potential on that side of the floor.

In a defense first system like Boston, under Doc and KG, I can easily picture Mitchell becoming an above average man defender against both SFs and PFs, with near elite PnR defense as well.

But I can also picture Mitchell becoming a passable, average, or above average situational defensive center. There are plenty of small lineups being run these days. Tyler Zeller, for example, has a standing reach 2'' shorter than Mitchell's. I even think Mitchell could give you 10 quality minutes against Bosh, who weighs less, has a higher center of gravity, and not a whole lot more length.

Mitchell may never be a star, but with the right leadership he could be a bigger version of Tony Allen with 3 position versatility. Allen has the superior mentality of course, but Mitchell has more offensive potential.


arambone
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(Continued) Offensively,

(Continued)

Offensively, Mitchell is correctly considered raw for both the SF and PF positions. The flipside is Mitchell has above average handles for a PF and above average inside scoring ability for a SF.

We know that big men take longer to develop in general, and Mitchell's post moves mostly consist of a turnaround jumper.

But Mitchell already has a pretty good face up game, scoring both off the dribble and with a reliable midrange jumpshot. Left open, Mitchell has already shown consistent range to the college 3 point line. For a 21 year old PF, this is advanced.

As a SF, Mitchell's ball handling is below average but not atrocious. His first step and overall athleticism is average at worst by NBA SF standards, and his height, strength, and athleticism are all above average. His passing and playmaking ability are below average for the SF position, but he is also just 21 and spent a lot of time in the post.

I see no reason why Mitchell couldn't develop into an overall average SF, an above average stretch PF, and an overall average situational center over the next 2-3 years.

Developing his post moves also helps him to post up smaller SFs, a position where Mitchell is also an elite rebounder from.

Developing his jumper, handles, and dribble drives not only helps him as a SF, but as a stretch 4 and stretch 5.

This is a guy that can be very valuable, even off the bench in 20-25 mpg shutting down the hot hand. In the right situation with the right guidance, he could be much more, if not instantly.

TaylorCondrin
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I dont think Boston should

I dont think Boston should draft a small forward, Jeff Green has proven more than capable. Mason Plumlee would be a great fit, he can provide length and give KG a breather when he needs

arambone
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I'd be very content with

I'd be very content with Mason Plumlee as well, and he'd be the safer pick.

But if Pierce is released or traded as expected, Jeff Green doesn't have a backup. Boston also doesn't have a single other player than Green who can come remotely close to guarding Lebron. For East teams especially, guys who can somewhat guard Lebron are of extremely high value. I don't think anybody projected in the first round comes close to Mitchell in having the tools to guard Lebron.

Just as guys like the Collins twins and Perk were much more valuable when Shaq was the league's most unguardable player, now guys who project to being able to make Lebron work are more valuable than they otherwise would be.

Jeff Green cant handle Lebron for more than 30 minutes, and having to guard him even that long significantly decreases his effectiveness offensively. Considering Green is Boston's number 1 scoring option going forward, this is no small thing.

Vs the Heat, Mitchell could give Green breaks against Lebron, and KG breaks against Bosh. He could also play between Green and KG, guarding Lebron while Green covers Battier and is more able to focus on scoring.

Just as Lebron is able to play both the 3 and 4, so to is Mitchell, if at a much lower level. Green would never need to play PF, and Sullinger has proven to be a +/- monster at the center position, even with a bad back.

Mitchell could back up Green at 3, Bass and Sully at 4, and KG and Sully at 5 against certain, increasingly common athletic matchups.

Mitchell might immediately become Boston's best PnR defender, and is certainly far better in this area than Plumlee. Defending the PnR is Plumlee's greatest weakness.

Mitchell is a comparable rebounder to Plumlee, a better shotblocker, equally strong, but 2 years younger with more room to fill out.

Plumlee is the safer pick with a higher floor and untapped potential of his own.

Mitchell has a lower floor, is a bigger risk, but offers more versatility, upside, and the incredibly valuable ability to make Lebron work for his points.

fastdan
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Let's be realistic; are there

Let's be realistic; are there more then a handful of guys in the league that do at least an OK job vs Lebron? No. No shame on Green for that.

I just don't think Boston's priorities should lay in their ability to matchup with Miami. With Pierce possibly out and Garnett teetering on retirement, they need to starting thinking about the future,

arambone
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Let's be realistic. Lebron is

Let's be realistic. Lebron is probably going to dominate for another 7-11 years. Should the Celtics start planning a 10 year rebuild now?

Lebron is here to stay, like Shaq in 1998.
Jeff Green, like any mortal, needs help guarding him, wherever Lebron goes. Chris Lee or Brandon Bass don't cut it, realistically and obviously.

If the Celtics goal over the next 10 years is to get to the second round of the playoffs, they might as well not game plan for Lebron and angle to avoid him in the first round.
But we all know from looking at the rafters that Boston is a championship driven franchise.

cfan38
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up to mitchell

I have no problem with the Cs taking a chance on Mitchell. The key to hitting a home run with a prospect (ala Paul George) is to find a guy with above average size and athleticism for his position. As a SF Mitchell has both.

If his skill set isn't to the level of an NBA SF then he needs to be able to fall back on his physical abilities and be an athletically dominant role player. Much like Larry Sanders committed this year to blocking shots and rebounding as priority 1 and became a dominant role player.

arambone
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Plumlee vs Mitchell Post

Plumlee vs Mitchell

Post offense: + Plumlee
Jump shot: ++ Mitchell
dribble drive: + M
passing: + P
fast break: even
rebounding: even
ball handling: ++ M
BBIQ: + P
Motor: ++ P
perimeter d: +++ M
post man d: + P
post help d: + M (only one + because of awareness)
PnR D: ++ M
overall SF: +++ M
overall PF: even
overall C: + P
intangibles: + or ++ P. Plumlee is a safer bet to work hard every day in a rebuild situation, and to take losses hard. He's also a safer bet to add to a team's overall energy, as well as to keep steady focus when not involved offensively.

Other factors: Plumlee is an upgrade of Shav Randolph, already on the roster. How much better is an important question.
Mitchell duplicates much of what Jeff Green and Brandon Bass already bring to the table.
Disregarding Lebron (a big mistake), Plumlee's size and more natural fit at center gives him a positional value advantage over Mitchell. The Celtics are not usually in position to draft a big of Plumlee's caliber.

Tough call, but Chris Lee and Brandon Bass are not going to cut it guarding Lebron when Green is on the bench, injured, or playing with a nagging injury.

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I think he's an absoulate

I think he's an absoulate long shot to play SF in the NBA. He became a much less effective player when trying to make the transition at North Texas. His freshman year he played center and put up great numbers shot 57/44/74 and used his athletic ability to grab over 10 rebounds per game.

As a sophomore he tried to transition to a more perimeter role and he quite frankly became a much less effective player. He took one more shot per game, but his efficiency plummeted to 44/30/68 in his attempt at a more perimeter oriented offensive game. His assist number also was cut in half from a decent ( for a center 1.6 apg to 0.8 in a more wing role ) and as a result of this switch he scored about 2 less points per game on more shots. This transition was made against the likes of LA-Fayetteville, Troy, LA Monroe, and other weak weak teams. His team, in a very weak conference with an immense NBA talent, also won 6 less games with Mitchell on the perimeter.

He would get destroyed or benched immediately or both if he tried to play SF offensively in the NBA. Look at what a post guy who was trying to transition to a more perimeter oriented player like Thomas Robinson, who dominated the Big 12, and the issues he had playing away from the bucket in the NBA and he was just trying to be more of a face up 4. If that is any indication on transitioning to a different role in a higher league, I think the evidence against Mitchell being a face up player points to failure.

I think he needs to be a PF in the NBA, if playing a faceup 4 and situational 3 at North Texas rendered him that much less effective than playing around the bucket, I think the transition to an NBA 3 is bleak, and if he ever does it, we're talking 5 or more years.

arambone
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Thanks for the reply Joe, I'm

Thanks for the reply Joe, I'm a new poster but I've been reading and respecting your opinions for a couple/few years.

I did a lot of research into Mitchell, including reading every relevent post on the meangreanmachine blog.

Behind the statistics are some interesting factors that even mike schultz didnt appear to research.
The team was more talented overall when Mitchell was a freshman, with a great coach too. N Texas was a well oiled machine, and Mitchell was surrounded by credible talent. Mitchell had an awesome season for a redshirt freshman, and was projected by most as a top 5-10 pick in the preseason.

Between graduations, a first time new coach who never gained the confidence or respect of the team, and two early, major season ending injuries to N Texas' best perimeter shooters, there are a lot of reasons to not take Mitchell's stats at face value.
The season was a mess, and the whole team seemed to give up after the second major injury in game 2. There was no credible talent surrounding Mitchell, and when he got the ball in the post he was double teamed front and back because his guards were 20 percent 3pt shooters, at high volume, with the coaches green light.

Because Mitchell suddenly became the only and best 3 point shooter, and because the front and back double teams were so effective, he started taking a lot more 3s, and contested ones at that. Bad shot selection in a disaster year when other guys started playing with selfish agendas as well. The whole team's energy was deflated by the injuries and by the new coach. Tony should have exhibited more effort in spite of all this, and cost himself millions by giving up and going through the motions. I doubt he has much leadership potential.

But his perimeter defense is probably already legit, and his rebounding is elite for a SF. Boston has bigs that can shoot jumpers and spread the floor. Bass, KG, and Sully. Mitchell wouldn't need to be a traditional SF in Boston. He could play the power game inside against generally smaller SFs, and also hit open jumpers at a good rate.

I think he could be a good all around role playing forward without specializing at either position.

Thomas Robinson never had a soft shooting touch from anywhere, nor Mitchell's basic ball handling and face up experience in high school and college. Not a great comparison.

We'll see what happens, and I wish I had more game footage, but I think Mitchell will blossom as a role player at 2 positions, played similarly on offense.

JoeWolf1
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Thanks man,I liked your write

Thanks man,I liked your write up and I can definitely tell you did your research, and I think defensively he could potentially guard bigger SF's and be valuable in pick and roll switches much like what Taj Gibson does for Chicago. I just don't see him ever breaking guys down or operating much on the perimeter offensively. So many PFs with all round skillsets come in the league and try to market themselves on the perimeter, and so few are effective there. You're right, we will have to wait and see, but I still think that touch would be best suited in the pick and pop game rather than logging minutes at the 3. He could be a really nice player if he puts it all together, but that's a pretty big if.

drice4life1753
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Dime a dozen

^Pretty much broke down his entire career. aha
Exciting prospect who should be much more. But after three seasons in NCAA basketball what makes anyone think he will develop any better or more against the best competition in the world. I was high on this guy early in his freshman season, like many others, but the development in his game is minut to say the least. With that being said how would a player who doesn't have single go to move, go to postion, jump shot, low post play (b/c he refuses too), or handles make it in the league....HUSTLE PLAYS, and lets be honest that's his worst quality.

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If his M.O. is going to be as

If his M.O. is going to be as a possible "LeBron defender" then he could be a good pick for the Pacers at 23 especially if they try to move Danny Granger. The Pacers will be a legit East threat as will be the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls are at 20 I think, but that might be too early to take him. Plus, they already have some solid players at the forward spots.

Then the Spurs at 28 which might be the best place for him. The Spurs can use him at either the 4 or 3 since they lack elite athletes up front except for Kawhi Leonard.

The Thunder are sitting at 29 and 32 and are one of the other teams that could use a potential "LeBron stopper." Other than that, I don't see a fit. Maybe Memphis at 41 who will still be in the mix next year.

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