I just watched a full game of Donovan Mitchel vs Michigan as a fan of the team that drafted him and here are my notes from the game(Louisville vs Michigan(NCAA tournament 2nd round)):
-Starts off-ball - first defensive possession - instructs and directs teammates on a transition D while identifying a shooter on the wing and with great close out prevents a 3 in transition.
-following offensive possession - Loisville runs the same motion we do with a lot of handoffs and screens around the perimeter. Mitchell gets a step on his defender on one of those and throws a one handed pin point pass to an open shooter on the perimeter. Great read and timing.
-HOLY HELL! What a beauty! Step back with between the legs dribble 3p jumper. Defender didn't move. Frozen. Drains it. Looks fired up. Haha, claps his hands looking at his man going back on D. Gambled on D for the steal... maybe he got too excited. Didn't get punished but I'm not sure Quin would appreciate this type of a gamble.
-Another hand-off ... gets trapped by a big and his man on the perimeter... they push him out... Seems like he realizes there must be an open man if there are 2 people chasing him... he's looking for the pass, sees it... nice try, but deflected OoB by a help defender. (seems like he tried to make it a no-look... lol... he's got some flair in his game)
-good transition D, the only player that got back on D, prevents a layup.
-Shoots a 3 on out of bounds play after running through screens... it looks good coming out of his hand, but missed it.
-he seems to be talking on D and pointing to switches and rotations for his teammates. He seems alert and in good stance. Michigan is avoiding attacking him. 6 minutes into the game, they don't let him handle it much.
-open 3 from the corner, misses it. Next - nice hopstep/stepthrough/carryover, but a bit of an ambitious finish in the paint - misses.
- they are switching on D. He's guarding 6'7" wings and they are still not attacking him.
-Another hopstep/stepthrough but got his shot blocked at the rim. Covers a lot of ground with this move. Interesting. I will have to watch for it more. He seems shifty with it. He might have more wiggle than I thought initially.
-Follows his teammate in transition, gets the board finishes the fastbreak.
-Wagner buldozed him on a switch. No call.
-With time expiring attacks the middle going left, tries a tough layup through contest. Doesn't fall. Did it with left hand. Might have trouble finishing in traffic, that's third miss in traffic in the paint.
-Steals a ball from driving Wagner as a help defender. Runs the break, unselfish pass to Adel for thunderous dunk. This was more Adel than Mitchell, but still - made the right play.
- Nice crossover refusing the screen, attacks the paint and holds the ball just long enough to make the help defender commit, drops it off to a teammate for the easy dunk. Nice one.
-Some impressive jumps on rebounds with full extension to grab them. Very nice athleticism.
- Step-back 3 going left with expiring clock and through contest... drains it. Second 3 off the dribble for him. Tough shots.
- Nice recovery after being attacked on a closeout - blocks 6'10" Wilson in the paint! Runs with the ball on the fast break, waits for D to commit, passes to open 3p shooter. Nice. Makes winning plays.
-Sweet long bounce pass in transition - his guy misses the bunny.
- seems like he rushed a bit with a pull up in the paint vs contest. Follows it with a 3 with no hesitation on the catch with 27 on the clock. This time drains it.
- Michigan is running everything away from him. I can't even evaluate his D much. They just seem to give the ball to whoever is farthest away from Mitchell. I guess it's somewhat of a statement on his D anyways.
- for a second time a an opponent passes over his head - this is where his size might not be ideal. if he was a couple of inches taller this is a much tougher pass
-Beautiful navigation vs screens, denies the pass on the weakside. Really really nice!!! I guess that's why Michigan don't even try to involve his man in plays... they would be just wasting timeclock trying to get him open.
-Takes another step back 3 off the dribble going left and this time misses. This is probably not a good shot with 20 seconds on the clock. I can't help but think Quin will not like those.
-Hahahaha, that was cute. Rahkman finally decided to try his luck vs Mitchell... almost tripped himself trying to fake Mitchell with and in and out dribble while Mitchell didn't even flinch(good feet, nice balance, good stance). Quickly gave it up afterwards.
-Split double team(they called a foul on the screener, but good to see that he can do that).
-Another pass over his head to a cutter - this seems to be his biggest weakness defensively...
-Another great pass in transition to a wide open man for a 3(missed). Seems to work well in space.
-Attacks closeout with a one dribble pull up in rhythm. Scores!
-Got switched on Wagner in the post, way too big for him, scored on him.
-They cannot beat him off the dribble. Really good lateral movement, really good footwork.
-Tough corner 3, misses.
-It's a bit weird not seeing him get the ball at all in crunchtime.
-Two consecutive finishes in the paint in crunchtime. Who would have thought giving the ball to your best player might bring some success? Too little too late.
-And one more finish after a great hesitation and good body control in the paint.
Louisville lose. Mitchel final statline - 19pts(3/8 from 3, 7/18FG), 7rbs, 5ast, 1blk, 1stl. 0to
tl;dr : He played mainly off-ball. Shows great defensive movement, fighting through screens and moving his feet. I don't think anybody beat him off the dribble the full game. Shows awareness and understanding of what the opponent wants to run and shuts it down. Michigan didn't even try to go against him when possible. Seems like a great defensive prospect. Offensively - might have more wiggle and moves than I initially thought. For example I thought he might be a bit like Wade Baldwin in last year's draft, but I have to say he showed much more than that, he has some nice stepthroughs/stepovers/hopsteps/hesitations in the paint, can splits the D on double teams. Seems to have trouble finishing against length in traffic. His shot on pull ups looks good, but the shot-selection might need some adjustment. The shot itself looks very good - tight and repeatable motion and release, ball comes out smooth out of his hand. I wouldn't be surprised if he shoots ~40% from the 3 at some point during his career. He seems to take some tough shots and if those get limited or eliminated in the league he might bump his %s significantly. He was in the 90th percentile on unguarded 3p shots, he will get some of those in our system if we manage to keep Hayward and Hood.