Sixers draft profile: Trade back and draft Donovan Mitchell

Mar 17, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Donovan Mitchell (45) rives to the basket against Jacksonville State Gamecocks forward Norbertas Giga (12) during the first half in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Donovan Mitchell (45) rives to the basket against Jacksonville State Gamecocks forward Norbertas Giga (12) during the first half in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports /

Sixers have the third pick in the draft. If they trade back to collect more assets, they can find the perfect complement to their cornerstone prospect.

The talks of the Sacramento Kings trading with Sixers to move up to the third spot are heating up. Keith Pompey’s article claims that whispers of the Kings offering the fifth and 10th pick are getting louder.

There are flaws and advantages to trading back. Philadelphia would be giving up a chance to get secure who they believe can be their final puzzle piece to a growing young core after the first two picks. So if they think it’s Josh Jackson or Lonzo Ball, or even Malik Monk, trading back could cost them a chance at drafting any of those three.

But in sacrificing certainty, the Sixers still maintain a pick within the top five, and gain the 10th pick, which still could produce two studs to surround Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. In my opinion, the team would be mitigating risk by adding two potential stars, than banking on one to flourish within their system.

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And if the organization does decide to go that way, the tenth pick should undoubtedly be used on Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell has been teetering on the outside of the top 10 for quite some time now, but has the potential to make an immediate impact with the Sixers, especially do to his style of play.

When talking about Mitchell, it’s hard not to talk about his freakish length. The length that earned him the nickname “Spider”. His 6’3 stature is complemented by a ridiculous 6’11 wingspan, making his potential as a two-way player way too high to pass up. Even if the Sixers decide to draft a guard at five, Mitchell is still the right pick at 10 as the team is in need of backcourt depth.


Mitchell is a decent outside shooter and has some potential as a secondary ball handler. He finds open space often and uses his wingspan to shoot over defenders. His shot selection can be questionable at times, but in a lesser offensive role that will be minimized to a point. What makes him great is his ability to create his own scoring opportunities.

He can still be a prime target for catch and shoot opportunities, but won’t be as reliant on others to score as fellow shooting guard Luke Kennard, who has often been mentioned near or above Mitchell in mock drafts. His ability to create off the dribble gives him more opportunities around the rim, where he uses his body well. His quick jump shot and lengthy arms allow him to pull up quickly on dribble moves as well.

Mitchell also holds some decent passing ability as well, quickly finding open targets in any situation. This makes the fit next into the Sixers’ offense even more tantalizing.

Next to Ben Simmons, Mitchell will have opportunities to hit the outside shot with ease as Simmons and Embiid will pull the defense in around the paint. Mitchell is especially comfortable on corner three-point shots, and that will play well in this perimeter-lacking offense.

Assuming the Sixers do take a guard with the fifth pick, Mitchell can still work himself into the starting lineup, creating a lengthy lineup. And even if the team goes with a forward with their top pick, Mitchell will still provide a major spark off the bench next to Dario Saric and Jerryd Bayless.


Here’s why the Sixers should be narrowed in on Donovan Mitchell if the trade back happens; length. We’ve seen what length can do to propel a team forward, as Milwaukee has turned the word into a culture-like movement. A lineup boasting Mitchell, Robert Covington, Simmons, and Embiid will cause problems for most offenses.

Mitchell isn’t a great defender, yet. His length almost makes it a certainty that he can at least be a good defender. There are lapses in judgement when it comes to over-comitting on help defense, leaving shooters open. This is a highly fixable problem, and even if he does so, more often than not his length bails him out on closeouts.

Covington and Mitchell can clamp down the wings, taking away difficult defensive duties from Ben Simmons, who could find himself guarding multiple positions through the game. Mitchell’s length makes him versatile, and puts the Sixers one step closer to becoming a cohesive defensive unit. Most top teams have multiple starters who can defend multiple positions, allowing for a fluid transition in rotations and defending screens.

Mitchell will alleviate the defensive questions surrounding Ben Simmons if the team decides to go all in on putting the “point guard” label on the near 7-footer. Mitchell would still have problems guarding the game’s quickest and elite guards, but he will be decent enough to take on tougher match-ups for Simmons. He will also allow Brett Brown to adjust lineups according to the matchup on a nightly basis.

He’s versatile, and can affect the team in a positive manner moving forward on the defensive side of the ball.


Honestly, Mitchell being available with the 10th pick may make trading back even more attractive for the Sixers. Adding a talented top five talent, while also adding the best complementary piece to  Simmons this draft has to offer outside of Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball, may sway the Sixers to make the move.

No matter who is drafted with the fifth pick, Mitchell should be the obvious choice with the next pick the Sixers have. He could become a very valued two-way player, and be effective in multitudes of ways on offense, while growing into a pesky perimeter defender.

To me, the gap in talent between the third and fifth pick are small. If giving up two spots and a few sweeteners means gaining a top prospect AND Mitchell, there should be no hesitation. Donovan “Spider” Mitchell has high floor with a high ceiling to match. The Sixers should be thinking about that when it comes time to pull the trigger on a draft night trade.