With the sixth pick in this year’s NBA draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder are in a unique spot. Because they’re outside the top five, the consensus top talents may be out of reach.
However, their draft pick is still high enough to draft a franchise-changing player. Some of the best No.6 overall picks include Brandon Roy, Damian Lillard, and Larry Bird.
A player that may still be on the board when it's the Thunder time to select is Davion Mitchell. The junior guard had a breakout year in his final year with the Baylor Bears. Mitchell was one of the key players who helped the Bears win their first National Championship last season.
During the regular season, Mitchell averaged 14 points per game to go and five assists per game. He was also very efficient, shooting over 50% from the field and nearly 45% from three.
There are two things Thunder fans should be excited about if they land Mitchell. One, Mitchell gets it done on both ends of the court. Despite just being 6’2”, 205 pounds, Mitchell is a great on-ball defender, averaging two steals per game.
His defensive prowess garnered him Big-12 All-Defense twice during his college career. This includes the honor of being named the Big-12 DPOY last season.
Pairing Mitchell with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would give Oklahoma City a backcourt that can score, defend and facilitate at a high level.
The second thing that’s intriguing about Mitchell is that he was a late bloomer in college. He started his college career at Auburn University in 2017 before transferring to Baylor after his freshman year.
While Mitchell started for the Bears his sophomore year, he averaged 10 points per game and shot just 32% from three.
As mentioned earlier, Mitchell had career highs during his junior year. That stellar play continued during the NCAA tournament and resulted in him being named to the NCAA All-Tournament team.
If the Thunder drafts Mitchell, he will have more time to develop than if drafted somewhere else in the lottery. This is because Oklahoma City has made it clear they’re playing the long game with their current rebuild.
So if it takes Mitchell three to four years to become an all-star level player in the NBA, the Thunder will have patience with him. Hopefully, during the course of his development in the NBA, Mitchell can work on his weakness of free-throw shooting.
While he is a great three-point shooter, Mitchell shot 64% from the free-throw line last year. Being able to knock down free throws is something that all the elite guards in the NBA have in their offensive arsenal.
Mitchell’s play has created comparisons to the likes of Donovan Mitchell and Jrue Holiday, amongst others. If he can become a player similar to either one of his pro comparisons, then he would be a successful pick for the Thunder at No. 6.