Davion Mitchell is a former lottery pick with great defensive potential. Offensively, he has not developed much, however, and since his rookie season, his minutes have steadily decreased.
Earlier this season, he even lost his spot in the rotation to Keon Ellis, who is on his second two-way contract with the Kings. The reasons for that were simple: Ellis provided activity on defense, good energy, and offensive contributions while the offense looked slow and sluggish with Mitchell at the point.
Recently, Mitchell won his spot back, earning another shot to solidify his role on this Kings’ squad. Another thing factoring into the decision might also be the fact that the Kings have made Mitchell, Kevin Huerter, and Harrison Barnes available on the trade block and want to increase his value.
It started in a win over Atlanta, and the Kings have played six games with Mitchell back in the rotation. Over those six games, he scored a total of 23 points, shooting 10-23 from the field and 2-10 from three. He had some nice moments but nothing that made him stand out, and it just doesn’t seem to be enough overall.
The Kings’ depth is a problem. Malik Monk and Trey Lyles are the only bench players who gained Coach Brown’s trust and consistently contribute to winning basketball. That is simply not enough.
Obviously, it isn’t all on the players. Everyone other than De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis has an incredibly short leash. It is hard to find a rhythm when you come off the bench, and the tiniest mistake sends you right back to it, but that is how it goes on teams wanting to contend.
Keegan Murray is the only young player the Kings are dead set on developing this season. Nevertheless, they need to get production out of their backup guards if they want to win. Right now it seems that Ellis is the better option between him and Mitchell. He is averaging more points, rebounds, and steals as well as shooting significantly better from three.
Keon Ellis made a statement last night
Last night’s game was not pretty, but Ellis was one of the few players receiving praise from Mike Brown for his effort. He played 12 minutes when the game was already out of hand but didn't give up. Scoring 13 points on very efficient shooting and competing defensively, he was easily one of the few bright spots in the game.
That is exactly how Ellis broke the Kings’ rotation before, and last night’s performance should put him right back in. Even if Ellis struggles to make his shots, he has value defensively and competes all the time which makes him one of the Kings’ best options to bring positive energy off the bench.
After what he has been able to do in a limited role and with little NBA experience earlier in the season, it is worth seeing what he can grow into going forward.