Tony Mitchell, No. 18 (Mock Draft)
The Hawks have found their replacement for Josh Smith.
by DeMarco Williams / @demarcowill
May 3, 2013 was probably just like any other day to you. But to Atlanta Hawks fans, it will be remembered as the night of the Indiana Pacers’ series-clinching first-round victory. It might also go down in city sports lore as the last time the Hawks faithful saw eight-year veteran Josh Smith wearing a home jersey.
The pending separation is a bittersweet one between the mercurial star and the A-Town spectators. Folks in Philips Arena will certainly miss the thunderous jams and ferocious swats. What they won’t miss are the mental lapses and mindless three-point attempts. The front office is aware of the potential shockwaves Smith’s departure might cause—that might explain why you’re hearing Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Andre Iguodala’s name come up in Atlanta-based conversations lately—so they’ll try to fill in the gap in other ways.
With that said…
With the 18th pick in the 2013 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Atlanta Hawks select…
Tony Mitchell from North Texas.
If J-Smoove was categorized as a gazelle coming out of Oak Hill Academy back in 2004, Mitchell is akin to a springbok, a South African antelope that’s nearly as quick as it is brawny. Mitchell, a chiseled 6-8, 235-pounder, had a steady, albeit unspectacular sophomore season in the Sun Belt Conference, averaging 13 points by backing his opponent down, putting missed shots back up and fiercely throwing in one-hand jams.
In addition to the scoring though, he posted solid rebounding (8.5 per) and shot-blocking (2.7 per) totals as well. But we hear the sideline chatter—The homie should have done more in a weak conference made up of teams like Troy and Arkansas State. And you know what? You’re right. That lack of killer offensive instinct could be the reason he’s going mid-to-late first-round and not the lottery. Still, when Mitchell’s North Texas Mean Green did play respectable opposition this past season, Tony showed up. He gave No. 16 Creighton 18 and 7, and put up 18 and 8 vs the 28-win Saint Louis Billikens. Simply put, the dude can score.
Right now, however, he won’t be called on to do much offensively for Atlanta. Be it CP3, Iggy, Monta Ellis or whomever comes to the Hawks, team GM Danny Ferry will find his scoring threat somewhere. Mitchell just needs to be an athlete, freelancing about the court, causing defensive havoc with his 7-3 wingspan and dazzling crowds with his forehead-scraping-the-rafters hops.
You see, in a lot of ways Tony Mitchell is just a younger version of Josh Smith. Atlanta fans certainly hope the rookie is able to slide in and out of the two forward slots like J-Smoove has over the past few years. But at the same time, they also need Tony to be disciplined enough to know that 22-foot jumpers from the corner aren’t a great look for him. Smith wasn’t able to do that; now he’s likely elsewhere.
If Tony can stay in his lane, Atlanta fans will never forget another date—June 27, 2013, the day the Hawks made Mitchell the 18th pick of the NBA Draft.
|2013 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|1||Cavs||Otto Porter||16||Celtics||Mason Plumee|
|2||Magic||Nerlens Noel||17||Hawks||Lucas Nogueira|
|3||Wizards||Anthony Bennett||18||Hawks||Tony Mitchell|