NBA Draft Capsule: Tony Mitchell, North Texas

NBA Draft Capsule: Tony Mitchell, North Texas

June 17, 2013, 12:30 am
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Tony Mitchell declared for the NBA draft after two seasons at North Texas. (USA Today Images)

With the NBA draft inching closer, our friends at CSNChicago.com are analyzing prospects leading up to the draft on June 27 in New York.

Sunday, they broke down Tony Mitchell, a 6-foot-8 power forward out of North Texas:

When it comes to raw talent, Mitchell compares with the best in the 2013 NBA Draft class. However, his ability isn't reflected in his current status, as the powerfully explosive athlete was plagued by inconsistency last season and failed to dominate at the mid-major level. Still, with his athletic gifts and considerable upside, it would be no surprise if he ends up reaching his potential on the next level.

Career highlights
A highly-touted prep recruit, Mitchell was forced to sit out his first year in college due to academic issues, but managed to make a splash in the offseason, excelling overseas for USA Basketball and garnering the attention of pro scouts before he even suited up for North Texas. Even after having to sit out the first portion of his debut campaign, he was able to shake off the rust and make a major impact, piling up gaudy statistical outings, such as 34 points and 16 rebounds against South Alabama, 30 points and 17 rebounds against Denver and a 22-point, 21-rebounds, six-block, five-assist monster of an effort against Florida International, en route to averaging a double-double for the season (14.7 points per game and 10.3 rebounds per game, as well as three blocks per game) winning Sun Belt Freshman of the Year and taking home first-team all-league honors in a successful season for the Mean Green. After standing out in various summer camps alongside players from bigger programs, Mitchell's sophomore year was a bit of a disappointment, which was reflected in North Texas' losing record, his second-team all-conference selection, poor performances in high-profile matchups and a decrease in his numbers across the board, though he did show flashes of his skills, like a 29-point, 15-rebound game against Troy.

Strengths
Mitchell will immediately be a high-caliber athlete, even on the NBA level, as his strength, long wingspan and leaping ability will allow him to deal with the upgraded physical play he's sure to encounter in the paint as a rebounder. With his agility and explosiveness, he should also be a force running the floor in transition and finishing above the rim, as well as give him the tools to be a good defender. While he's certainly not polished on the perimeter or even with his back to the basket, dealing with less defensive attention than he received in college, he could develop into an efficient scorer in the lane and on open mid-range jumpers.

Weaknesses
The biggest perceived issues with Mitchell are that he didn't play hard last season and fell in love with his perimeter game, in an effort to prove his versatility to NBA personnel people. It would be unfair to pin all of his team's struggles on his play, especially with a new head coach at the helm, but with his talent, it remains a question why North Texas didn't win more on the mid-major level, coming off a solid campaign the previous season. Mitchell is still very much a work in progress, which isn't a bad thing, but even if his motor runs higher as a professional, he still has a ways to go as far developing a consistent post game and improving his jumper, particularly not having outstanding size for his position.

Draft projection
Once regarded as a lottery lock, Mitchell is now viewed as a late first-round pick, with the potential to move up to the middle of the round if he impresses during pre-draft workouts, but also having a chance to slide to the early second round if teams aren't sold on his work ethic. Best suited as an athletic energy player, it will require a strong veteran presence and a pass-first point guard to bring the best out of his game. With his tantalizing tools, Mitchell will be given opportunities to prove himself as a starting-caliber power forward, but even if he doesn't develop as observers hope, he could stick in the league as a backup, just by gaining experience.