Under Maintenance

We deeply apologize for interrupting your reading but Vendetta is currently undergoing some important maintenance! You may experience some layout shifts, slow loading times and dififculties in navigating.

Sports Media

Ajay Mitchell 2024 NBA Draft Profile

Ajay Mitchell NBA
Ajay Mitchell won the Big West Player of the Year in 2022-23. What does his NBA Draft profile look like? (Michael Ciaglo-USA TODAY Sports)

Ajay Mitchell 2024 NBA Draft Profile

We are mere days away from the 2024 NBA Draft. Today, we will be continuing our draft profile series with guard Ajay Mitchell, the most prolific scoring guard in the Big West over the last two seasons. Let’s dive into his NBA draft profile!

Height: 6’3.25″ (6’6.25″ wingspan, 8’5 standing reach)

Weight: 197 lbs

Draft Age: 22

Position: Guard

Before playing at UC Santa Barbara, where he played all four years, Mitchell played professionally in Belgium, where he grew up. In the BLB League, he averaged 7.4 points and 2.9 assists in his final season. For Belgian in the U20 FIBA U20 European Championships, he posted 11.0 points, 4.7 assists and four rebounds after averaging 13.3 points, 3.1 assists and two rebounds in the FIBA U18 European Championships in 2019.

Mitchell completely broke out as a sophomore in 2022-23, winning the Big West Player of the Year award after averaging 16.3 points, 2.7 boards, 5.1 assists and 1.3 steals. He even upped his scoring to 20 points per game as a junior on career-best efficiency, in addition to four boards and four dimes and was the team’s primary initiator.

Let’s dive into some of his strengths and weaknesses, shall we?

Strengths:

He’s not the quickest or most mobile player on the floor, but when Mitchell had the ball in his hands, it was difficult to speed him up in the halfcourt. He was very good at creating separation off step-backs and decelerating to get his defenders off-balance. He wasn’t always on-balance with his release, but he possessed fairly soft in-between touch, knocking down 44.2 percent of his mid-range attempts last year, per Barttorvik.

In general, Mitchell grew as a perimeter shooter from 2022-23–when he won the Big West Player of the Year–to last year. He never took many 3s, but saw a near 12 percent spike in his 3-point shooting, despite being slightly worse around the rim and in the mid-range.

His assist-to-turnover ratio wasn’t great, but I thought Mitchell was a solid passer. He paced the roll-man in the pick-and-roll well, threaded good pocket passes and generally made the right reads. Mitchell wasn’t afraid to make the tough passes; he tended to thread the needle into tight quarters a little too often sometimes, but I appreciate him being willing to be a little more aggressive with his passes than not. Sometimes it worked out for him, other times it didn’t.

Defensively, I thought Mitchell was in the right spot more often than not with good court awareness. His size and strength didn’t allow him to be bit on screens on film that I saw, and he made the right rotational reads defensively when he was off-ball. He wasn’t playing stout competition, but that matters to some extent.

He was a good-not-great rebounder for a guard, but one thing he loved was grabbing a rebound and getting out in transition. That allowed him to not only create easy offense for himself, but for others too.

Weaknesses:

Mitchell isn’t a great athlete, which could be his biggest knock. He’s excellent at decelerating and creating separation that way, but he isn’t moving that quickly (relative to his peers) to begin with. He’s not going to jump out of the gym–posting a 28-inch standing vertical and a 33.5-inch max vert, both bottom-seven marks amongst guards that tested at the NBA combine–and doesn’t have a great first step. I worry about how his lack of athleticism translates to the NBA level, even if he can get out in transition and start breaks.

This goes hand-in-hand with his shooting in my opinion. I liked his playmaking ability, but what if he’s not an incredibly effective shooter from at least two levels? How does that limit his offensive upside without the great burst or athleticism against much stronger, smarter defenders? If he’s not well above average, I worry about his NBA stock offensively.

He’s more manipulative with his handle with his hesitations and stop-start ability, though I think it’s somewhat loose at times in traffic. Mitchell could play through contact, but there were also times when he was knocked off balance and/or lose the rock when he was trying to do too much in traffic.

Projection: Mid-Second Round

Mitchell was very good against not-great competition, which is always a tough evaluation for me unless you’re Dillon Jones, who I’m admittedly higher on. That does not mean in any way, shape or form he can’t become a good NBA player. He was a very good scorer from 2.5 levels and was an solid playmaker and defender. There’s room for him in an NBA rotation, but I’m not sure what his upside looks like, which leads to a second-round grade who could earn either a guaranteed or two-way contract.

***

Subscribe to Vendetta’s Twitch

Subscribe to Vendetta’s YouTube

Check out the Vendetta Shop

Click here for more NBA content

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Popular Past Stories

recommended stories

Adam Thielen

Adam Thielen Reveals This AFC Team Did Not ‘Want Me’

Adam Thielen Reveals This AFC Team Did Not ‘Want Me’ Adam Thielen hit free agency at 32-years-old after the 2022…

Read More
Mike Muscala

11-Year NBA Vet Mike Muscala Is Retiring

11-year NBA vet Mike Muscala is retiring Reports around the league today confirm that Oklahoma City Thunder center Mike Muscala…

Read More
DaRon Holmes II

Nuggets rookie DaRon Holmes II tears Achilles, likely out for season

Nuggets rookie DaRon Holmes II tears Achilles, out for season Denver Nuggets rookie DaRon Holmes II will likely miss the…

Read More
UFC Denver Preview Predictions

UFC Denver Preview And Predictions

UFC Denver Preview And Predictions The UFC is returning after a week’s absence with a fight night event in Denver,…

Read More