Davion Mitchell showcased his improved shot in preseason
Oct 23, 2023, 10:50 AM | Updated: 10:50 am
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Throughout the offseason, Davion Mitchell highly emphasized improving his three-point shot. In 2022-23, he shot 32 percent from that range on 2.5 attempts per game, including 34.6 percent on catch-and-shoot looks, per NBA Stats. The countless hours spent working on his shot with Sacramento Kings player development coach Jimmy Alapag and NBA Skills and Performance trainer Brandon Payne, who has worked with Stephen Curry since 2011, were apparent.
The third-year guard attempted five or more threes in all but one of their preseason showings. 38.5 percent (10/26) were converted, and that production level could create added opportunity heading into the regular season. That progression would allow him to play longer stretches alongside De’Aaron Fox and take some of the defensive pressure while potentially maintaining their elite offense.
“The biggest thing for us is who can bring the physicality that we need to bring to the table defensively while not necessarily hurting us offensively,” head coach Mike Brown said after practice on Sunday.
Ideally, Davion Mitchell will fit that description this year. He brings the physicality that has been tirelessly preached but has to continue progressing offensively. The Baylor alum said that his shot has felt good up to this point but is always focused on improving.
“It felt good,” he said Sunday. “I know the mistakes that I’m making. Getting out my shot a little bit too fast, talking to Jimmy [Alapag], talking to Brandon [Payne], guys like that, telling me about my shot, but it felt good.”
Carrying that positive progress into the regular season will be vital. Sacramento opens its season Wednesday on the road against the Utah Jazz, who they faced in their preseason finale, albeit with most starters unavailable for both sides.
The Kings are hoping to make a jump defensively this year, even if it costs some of their elite offensive production. With that in mind, Davion Mitchell could emerge as a critical X-Factor with his elite ability to harass ball carriers and pressure guards. But no one player can save a team’s defense. It has to be done as a cohesive group.
“I think it’s just the mental aspect,” Mitchell said regarding Sacramento improving their defense. “It’s tough because you want to play fast, but if you’re not making shots and you play fast, they’re out in transition. It’s a balance, like I said earlier. We just got to find a balance of playing fast but also playing defense. Not taking the quickest shot and taking bad shots, and bad shots lead to transition where our defense is not set. So, I mean, we’ve just got to find the balance of trying to play both, but I think it’s just the mental aspect of it.”
It’s a process. They have shown the ability to be better than they were on that end, but continuous growth will be needed if the Kings hope to take that next step. If Mitchell’s shot is falling at an improved rate, his minutes could increase, allowing his opportunities to make a defensive impact to rise simultaneously.
Next time, it’s for real.
The Kings will open their 2023-24 regular season on Wednesday night in Salt Lake City, Utah, for a matchup against the Utah Jazz.
Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Jazz coverage, beginning at 4:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 6:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Salt Lake City.
Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Regular Season Schedule
- Wednesday, October 25th – Sacramento Kings @ Utah Jazz – 6 PM PST (Season Opener)
- Friday, October 27th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST (Home Opener)
- Sunday, October 29th – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Lakers – 6 PM PST
- Wednesday, November 1st – Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST
- Saturday, November 4th – Sacramento Kings @ Houston Rockets – 5 PM PST
- Monday, November 6th – Sacramento Kings @ Houston Rockets – 5 PM PST