Articles | Game Recap | Summer League

Davion Mitchell shines in Summer League debut

Sacramento's newest rookie guard put up 23 points and showcased the defense and toughness he's known for.

Summer League basketball is chaotic and ugly, but it's also a blast.  For many fans, it's their first opportunity to see rookies in person, or to see how players from last year's squad have grown (or not) over the summer.  Great summer league performances hardly mean a player is going to thrive in the NBA, but bad ones don't tend to inspire confidence either.

The Kings faced the Warriors last night at Golden 1 Center for their first Summer League game, and with Golden State's Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga both sitting, Davion Mitchell was the main attraction.  Sacramento's lottery selection of Mitchell was a surprise to everyone (including Mitchell himself) but it didn't take long for Kings fans to warm up to him.  Mitchell stood out as the best player on the floor and by the fourth quarter was even getting a scattering of "M-V-P" chants from the enamored Golden 1 Center crowd.  While the Kings would go on to lose in overtime, Mitchell clearly looked like the best player on the floor, putting up a game-high 23 points on 9-18 shooting in 32 minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI-bc5MfUCI

Mitchell was advertised as one of the most NBA ready prospects in the draft, and last night's performance left no doubt that he looked ready to contribute from Day 1 on both ends of the floor.  Defensively, he was just as advertised.  Warriors players had an incredibly tough time dribbling around him, often choosing to give the ball up.  Mitchell had 3 steals, and all of them came from him just taking the ball away from the player he was defending.  Mitchell is a defensive pest in a way we haven't seen in Sacramento in years, and fans appreciated the effort.

Mitchell looked exceedingly comfortable with the ball in his hands, showcasing a tight handle and ability to get to spots he wanted on the floor.  His first step was as quick as advertised, and his ability to stop and start at a moment's notice allowed him to draw a few fouls here and there.

One of the biggest questions with Mitchell is his outside shot and how consistent it can be.  While Mitchell's first two threes went in, he missed his next four, and he also went just 3-6 from the free throw line.  Getting his own shot doesn't seem to be a problem for him, but he'll definitely need to become more consistent at the next level.  His lack of size also worked against him on a couple drives where he got blocked from behind by a taller Warriors defender.

As a playmaker, Mitchell struggled a bit, posting just 1 assist to 3 turnovers.  Part of that was just the team's lack of familiarity with each other as well as the lack of NBA talent around him. Mitchell found several guys for open three point attempts that missed badly (this Kings summer league squad had some of the ugliest looking three point attempts I've ever seen, and shot just 4-21 from distance).  His turnovers came off some sloppy passes however that were deflected in traffic or thrown into crowds.

Overall though it was a great debut for Mitchell, despite an apparent hamstring injury he suffered right at the end of the game in overtime.  It's unclear if he will play tonight, but it also seems clear that he doesn't necessarily need the time to get acclimated.

It was a far more disappointing performance for Sacramento's other prospects.  Louis King, who looked so promising at the end of last season, looked completely lost out there.  Not only was his shot not falling (3/9 overall and 0/2 from three) but he also lost the ball multiple times in traffic (3 turnovers) and just didn't look like the player we had seen before.  He was a game-worst -16 and while single-game plus/minus isn't often a great indicator of a player's impact, it certainly was in this case.

Robert Woodard II also had a fairly disappointing performance overall, although he at least showed off his athleticism on a few dunks and alley-oops.  Woodard is incredibly athletic and has an NBA body, but he needs to be able to hit a jumper to have a future in the NBA. He shot just 4-14 overall, including 0-4 on three point attempts.  He also missed the game-winning attempt at the end of regulation on what was a decent look from the midrange.  It's just one game though, so we'll see how he fares over the rest of Summer League.

Out of the rest of Sacramento's roster, two players stood out.  The first was Emanuel Terry, a thin, wiry big man who provided a ton of energy on both ends of the floor.  He finished with 9 points, 14 rebounds (including 5 offensive), 2 blocks and 2 steals in just 26 minutes.  It seems like every year that the Kings have a big man on their summer league team that fans fall in love with and Terry's a good bet to be that guy this year.

Matt Coleman from Texas also had some solid moments, mostly in the first half.  Coleman was the Kings' second leading scorer with 14 points on 6-12 shooting.  He was one of the quickest players on the floor and also one of the only Kings players who showed they could hit an outside shot at times. Unfortunately he also threw up perhaps the ugliest attempt of the game, a wide-open corner three that hit the stanchion behind the hoop.

The Kings are back in action later tonight where they'll face the L.A. Lakers.

 

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BestHyperboleEver
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August 4, 2021 9:22 am

He looked really good. This isn’t a great environment for assists/playmaking since they haven’t played much together. Summer league in general is pretty ISO-heavy and ball-handler/guard-focused because of the lack of practice time and familiarity. That said, while I’ve been saying that the grade on picking Mitchell is heavily dependent on what other moves are made, I’ll reiterate that regardless, he’s going to be a fun player to watch and easy guy to root for.

Kosta
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August 4, 2021 1:34 pm

I’m excited for the tenacious D!
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TheOldFalcon
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August 4, 2021 9:22 am

I wasn’t able to tune in until the second half, at which time Mitchell promptly picked the pocket of both of the opposing team’s guards on what felt like consecutive possessions. I was explaining to my wife how rare that was, for two professional (or at least professional-adjacent) level guards to just have the ball taken from them. It reminds me of when Kawhi just took the ball right out of McLemore’s hands a few years back, or of what happened every time I dribbled the ball more than two times in high school.

BestHyperboleEver
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August 4, 2021 9:23 am
Reply to  TheOldFalcon

If I dribbled enough while guarded in high school to get picked twice my coach would have sat me for the rest of the game.

andy_sims
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August 4, 2021 9:46 am
Reply to  TheOldFalcon

I just assume that I’m asking for all of us: What did your wife have to say about it?

TheOldFalcon
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August 4, 2021 9:53 am
Reply to  andy_sims

She kind of looked at me like, “duh.” To be fair, this is a very appropriate response to most things I say.

Side note: When I turned the game on, her first reaction was disappointment (which is the correct mindset to have when preparing to watch the Kings), though in this case it was because she had assumed that the Cal Classic was essentially preseason for the full Kings roster, and she was hoping to watch Holmes play.

andy_sims
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August 4, 2021 10:00 am
Reply to  TheOldFalcon

She sounds a bit like someone that I’ve been married to for awhile, so I will congratulate you for doing so well.

As I’ve learned over the course of my life, nearly every man that’s in a relationship with a woman is punching above his own weight.

AmateurNerd
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August 4, 2021 9:22 am

Loving Mitchell out there! Clearly the best on the floor. Just sit him until preseason if he has any kind of injury at all. He’s clearly NBA-ready. No need to get him “acclimated” to a level he already seems acclimated to.

ElRonToro
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August 4, 2021 9:32 am

This is 100% exactly how I saw Mitchell and the game. The only thing I have to add is he has an explosive jump. His dunks in pre-game were amazing.

andy_sims
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August 4, 2021 9:45 am
Reply to  ElRonToro

He is springy to an almost shocking degree. It’s always more exciting when the shorter guys throw it down.

ElRonToro
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August 4, 2021 10:04 am
Reply to  andy_sims

He doesn’t look that short in person. He sort of had a Dwayne Wade type body ( shorter) . He showed good power/strength on some drives. Defensively, he does something I’ve never seen. When applying pressure he puts his arm higher that the arm that dribblers use to push away defenders. When they extend he pushes it downward and takes away the power of it . I saw that 3 or more times.

Greg
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August 4, 2021 9:33 am

Mitchell controlled the game in the exact way you’d hope the highest-drafted player on the floor would. I’m not ready to make any grand proclamations about his career trajectory based on one summer league game, but he showed the skills that we’d heard about. Defense, ball handling, first step. The defense especially is the part I can’t wait to see against regular competition.

TheFifthMookie
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August 4, 2021 10:25 am
Reply to  Greg

He sure looked like the best player out there by a TON last night. The defense really stood out, and he was smooth on the dribble and aggressive in the first half (didn’t watch the second half), I’m really impressed.

Kosta
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August 4, 2021 9:35 am

He already proved his nickname, as Moody and Kuminga both had off-nights!

Kosta
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August 4, 2021 9:36 am

Woodard doesn’t look like an NBA player. 🙁

BestHyperboleEver
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August 4, 2021 9:39 am
Reply to  Kosta

It’s a minor quibble, but it sure would be nice to have Tillman on the roster.

andy_sims
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August 4, 2021 9:43 am

It’s a minor quibble but it sure would be nice to have Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the roster.

RikSmits
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August 4, 2021 9:48 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Too late. He just signed with the Lakers.

Last edited 1 year ago by RikSmits
CoreyBrewersD
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August 4, 2021 9:56 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I am not sure if he meets the Lakers minimum age standard.

andy_sims
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August 4, 2021 10:00 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Who does he think he is? Vlade Divac?

BestHyperboleEver
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August 4, 2021 9:50 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Hmmm… I’m not quite sure how to respond to this. I haven’t seen a big enough sample size yet today to know if we’re getting the petulant, snide version of andy-sims or the clever, delightfully sarcastic version.

Last edited 1 year ago by BestHyperboleEver
Kosta
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August 4, 2021 10:04 am

I’ve noticed that I’m getting a lot less downvotes now, so something has changed!

RikSmits
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August 4, 2021 10:21 am
Reply to  Kosta

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ZillersCat
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August 4, 2021 10:41 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Perhaps Karma?

Amonk81
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August 4, 2021 11:00 am
Reply to  Kosta

Question -I posted a comment about THK getting rid of downvotes and they did. Did others do the same? Was it coincidental? Maybe I should as Greg. Just curious.

Mitchell- can he become a consistent shooter? If not, I’m not psyched having inconsistent or poor shooters with Fox/Holmes already in lineup.

Kosta
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August 4, 2021 11:05 am
Reply to  Amonk81

Yeah, some other folks were also bringing attention to the weird down-voting that was happening. I’m guessing the TKH guys were getting frustrated with it as well, but I don’t know for sure. Maybe they’ll address it.

Greg
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August 4, 2021 11:16 am
Reply to  Kosta

People were trolling with downvotes. Trolling isn’t allowed under site rules. But moderating that kind of trolling became more trouble than the feature was worth.

We want there to be disagreement and discussion, in a civil manner. If people want to disagree, they still can, just not anonymously.

Edit:typo

Last edited 1 year ago by Greg Wissinger
Kosta
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August 4, 2021 11:24 am
Reply to  Greg

🤙🏽

Amonk81
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August 4, 2021 10:29 pm
Reply to  Greg

Thank you. discussion and humor rather than knee jerk reaction make TKH great (different from most sites).

andy_sims
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August 4, 2021 11:28 am
Reply to  Amonk81

Holmes had a True Shooting percentage of .669 last season, so I’m good with that.

andy_sims
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August 4, 2021 10:05 am

I’m honestly too tired to know which is which. This week continued my streak going back to 2005 where I fly somewhere, and either going or coming back, I not only arrive late, but don’t reach my destination on the same day that I’m supposed to. I’ve spent far too many overnights in airports, killing time and not sleeping, because I’m terrible at it.

I used to love flying, and now I would rather do anything else. Most of the dentistry I’ve has in my life has been far more pleasant.

Kosta
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August 4, 2021 10:08 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Dude, you won’t believe this but I actually got duct-taped to my airplane seat just recently.

AND MY PARENTS ARE WORTH $2 MILLION!

BestHyperboleEver
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August 4, 2021 10:21 am
Reply to  Kosta

Everybody in the Bay Area: “$2 Million? That won’t even get you a fixer upper.”

Kosta
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August 4, 2021 10:52 am

I’m thinking if I ever can afford a house, it’ll be when I’m retired and move to Ecuador or someplace similar.

BestHyperboleEver
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August 4, 2021 10:59 am
Reply to  Kosta

We were lucky enough to buy when the prices were merely absurdly high. Rather than the ludicrous prices we’re seeing now.

BestHyperboleEver
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August 4, 2021 10:58 am

Reply fail.

Last edited 1 year ago by BestHyperboleEver
andy_sims
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August 4, 2021 10:33 am
Reply to  Kosta

This is a story worth sharing.

ZillersCat
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August 4, 2021 10:43 am
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Aflac!
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BestHyperboleEver
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August 4, 2021 10:20 am
Reply to  andy_sims

That sucks. Sorry to hear that. Overnights in the airport are the worst. I also can’t sleep there (or on planes). So long flights are brutal. But I do get to catch up on every movie that has been released in the last few years! Including a number of movies from [insert airline country of origin].

andy_sims
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August 4, 2021 10:38 am

Thank you. It would be so much better if they’d just let you run around on the runways, waving burning rags to advise planes that they’re about 800 feet closer to the ground than their instruments suggest.

TSA ruins everything.

Last edited 1 year ago by andy_sims
Otis
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August 4, 2021 10:49 am

My family and I have flied quite a bit the last few months (not all together, so multiple cities). Haven’t had one flight that wasn’t delayed, and many times, significantly so. Even on fairly short hops within California.

You can definitely feel the stress levels in the airport and onboard right now.

Kosta
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August 4, 2021 10:51 am
Reply to  Otis

I just had one of the worst experiences while flying JetBlue this last week. (true story)

It’s been awhile since I had previously flown with them, but have they been terrible for anyone else?

Gregoryl
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August 4, 2021 11:09 am
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I’ve had good experiences with Jet Blue. For me, bad airlines begin and end with United.

MidtownMike
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August 4, 2021 11:17 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

American is the one my wife and I swore off forever

CoreyBrewersD
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August 4, 2021 11:59 am
Reply to  Kosta

Was it out of or connecting to Newark? that airport is a F’ng travesty. One runway, Covid surge, weather. 6pm to 945pm New to SFO takeoff 1:15AM landing 445 AM woo hoo.

Kosta
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August 4, 2021 12:41 pm
Reply to  CoreyBrewersD

JFK, actually.

All of the JetBlue machines were down, so they had everyone wait in line to figure it all out by talking to their 5 or 6 kiosk people. (couldn’t check in online, either). So many people were having problems while talking to the kiosk people that it appeared they must’ve screwed something up.

Then they had problems checking people in at the gate, so that took about an hour longer to board. Then we were sitting on the plane for about an hour and a half on the plane before we finally could take off.

I’m sure some of it was the airport’s fault, but I didn’t see or hear of other travelers having the issues we were having.

BestHyperboleEver
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August 4, 2021 11:01 am
Reply to  Otis

Despite usually traveling quite a bit, I’ve only flown once since Covid hit. And that was SMF to ONT. So it was easy.

Kosta
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August 4, 2021 11:07 am

…enjoyed nearby Claremont, hopefully?

BestHyperboleEver
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August 4, 2021 11:20 am
Reply to  Kosta

We did. Had dinner at some odd Afghan/Mexican/Greek place.

9sac8
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August 4, 2021 5:46 pm
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G-League or overseas is his ceiling.

Kosta
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August 4, 2021 9:40 am

I think the highlights video is missing a couple of his really nice defensive plays. One of the other times(there were 2 times total, if I remember correctly) he just took it from the other guard, and one of the times he just flustered the guy so much he just gave it up to someone else and their whole play was a mess after that.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
andy_sims
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August 4, 2021 9:42 am

It’s great seeing a rookie who looks as comfortable and confident from day one as Mitchell did yesterday. As you said, he’s got some built-in negatives, mainly due to his size, but he gives the impression of a player who will be able to adapt and adjust to allow himself to maximize his contributions.

It’s one game, but his demeanor is very encouraging, and if his stats follow along, he looks like a player who won’t need a season or two to mold his game to NBA mode. He may not be a guy that can throw a team on his back, but he may be able to contribute in one aspect or another right from the start.

I don’t mind drafting older players, it sure seems like the extra time spent finding out who they are as players pays off at the next level more often than not.

TheKingsGuard
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August 4, 2021 10:51 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Agree with so much on this. I see his defensive prowess being somewhere above Pat Beverly and maybe slightly lower ceiling than Jru Holiday, but that’s only bc of his height.

Peja
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August 4, 2021 9:42 am

Mitchell talked about after the game that he was experiencing some cramping. Hard to play 32 minutes the way he does when you are not in 5 on 5 shape. I would be cautious if it feels tight today as he proved last night that he looks ready to play in the NBA. His lateral quickness on defense and his first step on offense were fun to watch. He has a bigger body than I thought and he does a good job of using it on defense to keep players in front of him.

andy_sims
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August 4, 2021 10:07 am
Reply to  Peja

He does look strong. He’s smaller than Jrue Holiday, but with his similar build, it should mitigate some of the problems that he’ll have because of his height.

RAP87
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August 4, 2021 10:05 am

Good game by Mitchell. His strengths and weaknesses is just as advertised. Got to work on those FT especially if he is going to share most of the crunch time minutes with Fox and Haliburton.

I think he won’t be playing tonight due to cramps in his hamstring last night but I expect him to play in Vegas together with Queta and Ramsey who both have an ankle injury.

Curious to see if Ramsey’s game has improved or not. As for Woodard, I’m a bit disappointed with his performance but its just 1 game. Got to see what he brings tonight and in Vegas.

Last edited 1 year ago by RAP87
Rosevillain
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August 4, 2021 10:07 am

His misses near the end were from tired legs. And he could’ve had 6-7 assists, if dudes could catch passes and convert oops. He will be the biggest star on this team very soon.

Kosta
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August 4, 2021 10:20 am

I’m probably most excited about what he can bring to our team on the defensive end.

Here’s a video maybe some folks haven’t seen yet, where talks with Mike Schmitz about his defense:

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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August 4, 2021 10:35 am
Reply to  Kosta

comment imagev

RikSmits
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August 4, 2021 10:47 am

Well, there we are.

1951
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August 4, 2021 10:51 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Media: we need to guard better, our defense was terrible.

Monty: okay, I’ll get a bunch of guards!

Last edited 1 year ago by 1951
Rosevillain
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August 4, 2021 10:55 am
Reply to  RikSmits

They must have a deal for Buddy, right? Right?

BestHyperboleEver
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August 4, 2021 11:03 am
Reply to  Rosevillain

Not necessarily. If we assume the Wright deal goes through in some form, then TD is your 5th guard. Which is about right for him.

Rosevillain
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August 4, 2021 11:12 am

I actually see him as an excellent 4th. Can’t imagine he’d sign on for 30 DNP-CDs.

MidtownMike
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August 4, 2021 11:19 am
Reply to  Rosevillain

I agree, it should go something liiiiike:
Fox, Hali, Mitchell, Davis

Unload buddy and Wright, or keep wright since he is the least expensive of the two and have a super 5th guard for the eventual missed game here and there

CoreyBrewersD
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August 4, 2021 12:03 pm
Reply to  Rosevillain

Is Mitchell supposed to start? I saw some of this last week. By this I mean Fox and Bags+ ??? for Simmons. I am sure there are some strong opinions about that. I would think yes depending of course on the ???.

andy_sims
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August 4, 2021 11:02 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Good. I’m assuming that it’ll be for a maximum of $10-12 mil over the length of the deal, and that’s good bench value.

Otis
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August 4, 2021 10:51 am

Turned it on, watched about five minutes, saw very few names that looked familiar, turned it off.

Glad Mitchell looked good, but not sure he was even playing against D-League talent.

Kosta
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August 4, 2021 10:54 am
Reply to  Otis

Is Gossip Girl really that more important?!

1951
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August 4, 2021 10:56 am
Reply to  Kosta

Loki is the most important show ever for the Sacramento Kings.

I mean, in one of those branches the Kings won in 2002 and some asshole just pruned it!

nonstripedzebra
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August 4, 2021 11:35 am

It was an assuring, fun and comfortable performance for what has seemed like a divisive pick. That said it’s as encouraging as it can be to this point. Whats the saying if a player looks bad in summer league its not good, if they look good the verdict is still out.

He seems to have good body awareness and command for a player his size. Let alone the work ethic. A must for his profile. But I am going to have to wait and see some NBA production to be fully convinced. The players are longer and quicker. His size just makes me a bit wait and see.

But he killed the foes in front of him thus far. All he can do and looked assuring and comfortable in the process. Has tempered some nerves for sure.

Want2win
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August 4, 2021 2:03 pm

Off thread… any updates on Holmes? I find it odd that he deleted his tweet last night about 4 more years

Sacto_J
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August 4, 2021 2:53 pm

Mitchell looked good, easily the best player on the floor for both teams.
Coleman looked way out of control way too often, a Try-Hard, if you will. Lots of effort, not much to show for it.
Terry had some fun moments but I doubt we see much of him after the Classic.
King was def a bit concerning, except we don’t really need him at this point.
The Dubs didn’t have one name I recognized the entire game. And they still beat us.
Kangz!

RighteousandHopeful
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August 4, 2021 4:41 pm

The new “Mitch” is a quick-twitch guard. I am hopeful.

AnybodyButBagley
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August 5, 2021 8:55 am

Playing defense for an entire game puts him on a whole new level for this organization.

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