SACRAMENTO KINGS

Davion Mitchell ‘learned a lot’ from adversity in 2023-24

Apr 29, 2024, 4:07 PM

Davion Mitchell #15 of the Sacramento Kings is guarded by Cameron Payne #22 of the Philadelphia 76e...

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 25: Davion Mitchell #15 of the Sacramento Kings is guarded by Cameron Payne #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers in the first half at Golden 1 Center on March 25, 2024 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

In his third NBA season, Davion Mitchell recorded his lowest minutes, points, and assists totals throughout 72 regular season games played. He logged nine DNP-CDs (Did Not Play – Coach’s Decision) after one in his 156 prior showings as a member of the Sacramento Kings.

Yet, how he ended his season left a sense of optimism regarding his future in the league.

It was a tough start to 2023-24 for the Baylor alum, averaging 3.8 points and two assists on 37.0 percent from the field and 25 percent from three on two attempts per game in his 13.1 minutes through 31 games played in 2023 — including six of the nine mentioned occasions where he did not see the floor.

“The beginning of the year was a lot of DNPs,” Mitchell said at his end-of-season exit interview last week. “I didn’t play a lot, but still trying to play a role, trying to be that encouragement on the bench, not putting my head down and saying, ‘Man, forget this team, forget the coaches. They don’t like me.’ Nah. I kind of kept my head straight.”

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As the calendar moved to 2024, Mitchell began to find a rhythm. His efficiency rose in the next 33 games, averaging 50 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three in 14 minutes. His production went to another level, somewhat out of necessity, when Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk were sidelined.

Huerter’s injury occurred with 15 games remaining in the regular season, while Monk’s occurred five games later in the Kings’ 72nd matchup of the year. Even with Keon Ellis emerging as a valuable replacement starter, Sacramento had to turn toward their ninth overall pick from the 2021 NBA Draft.

The 25-year-old took advantage of the increased opportunity, averaging 21.8 minutes in the final 15 games of the regular season. Most encouragingly, he shot 45.7 percent from three during that stretch on 3.1 per game, including six instances with at least four attempts from beyond the arc.

“I think getting more minutes gave me more opportunity, more confidence to shoot the ball, and also the coaches just having confidence in me,” Mitchell said. “Telling me to shoot the ball, don’t worry about the misses, and things like that, and it helped me out throughout the second half of the season.”

Embracing a minimalized role can be challenging for NBA players who often have spent their entire lives as their teams’ best (or one of their best) players. Yet, Mitchell didn’t seem bitter about his lack of opportunity early in the year. Ellis, who directly surpassed Mitchell on the depth chart, complimented Mitchell’s demeanor and words of aid and/or encouragement.

A continued upward trajectory is ideal for young players, and while Mitchell’s journey has been atypical for a lottery pick, ending the season 36.1 percent from three is encouraging. He plans to continue tuning his jump shot and strives to improve as a finisher and passer. The guard has often referenced the saying “Trust Your Work” and possesses an obsessive work ethic to boot — there’s no doubt he’ll continue to work towards improving this offseason.

“I learned a lot from this season,” he said. “I’ve never been in a situation where I haven’t played. I think all my life, I’ve been playing and playing a lot of minutes, so I kind of learned a lot from this adversity. The things that I need to work on. The role that they need me to play. I’ve just got to do a better job at it. I think it also gave me confidence towards the end of the season when I was hitting shots and playing a big role in our kind of success, even though we lost the last game… there are a lot of things I need to work on. Finishing, passing, a lot of things I need to work on that I’ll be ready for.”

Approaching the fourth season on his rookie deal, Davion Mitchell is extension eligible this offseason, but his long-term future with the Kings is currently uncertain. With no reporting or whispers of a potential agreement and Sacramento expected to be active in trade discussion this offseason, questions loom.

But, the NBA should have a more optimistic view of his potential given how he stepped up amid injuries and ended 2023-24 on a positive.

When is the next Sacramento Kings offseason date of interest?

For the first time in two years, the Sacramento Kings will be crossing its fingers for luck during the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery.

The 2024 NBA Draft Lottery will be held on Sunday, May 12, 2024, in Chicago, where Sacramento will hold the 13th-best odds of securing the top pick.

How the Lottery works: The 14 teams that missed out on the NBA playoffs are eligible for the Draft Lottery. The final odds were determined after the regular season, and tie breaks were settled between teams with identical regular season records.

NBA Offseason Schedule

  • Sunday, May 12 – NBA Draft Lottery
  • Wednesday, June 26-Thursday, June 27th – 2024 NBA Draft
  • Sunday, June 30th – Free Agent negotiating window opens (3 PM PST)
  • Saturday, July 6th – Free Agents can officially sign contracts
  • July 12-22nd – Las Vegas Summer League
  • July 27-August 11th – 2024 Olympic Games
  • Friday, September 27th – NBA training camps begin

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