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Playoff Push: Tony Mitchell

Each year, we do a themed preview series to ready for the season. This year’s theme is "Playoff Push."

What is the No. 1 thing Tony Mitchell can step up to do to help the Pistons make the playoffs?

Play hard all the time

The Pistons basically made Mitchell promise he’d play hard before they drafted him, and it’s imperative he his word immediately. I don’t know whether Mitchell will get any meaningful minutes this season – he’ll likely split time between the inactive list and the D-League – but there’s a good chance any substantial playing time would be given rather than earned. By that, I mean the Pistons are likely too deep at power forward for him to outplay someone into the rotation. But in the event of injury, he could play – and if he plays hard, maybe even play well. But if he’s not playing hard, I’m sure he’d be a liability, and already down multiple players in that scenario, that would be a big problem.

-Dan Feldman

Be the new Amir Johnson

Realistically, as entertainingly athletic as Mitchell is, he’s not likely to contribute this year. One of my favorite Pistons of all-time is D-League Amir Johnson. Johnson barely played his first two seasons as a Piston, but put up absolutely dominant numbers in D-League stints that had me convinced he was a future rotation player. That didn’t really work out for the Pistons because of an unwillingness by coaches to play anyone younger than like 31-years-old in those days, but Johnson ultimately became an energetic, productive NBA player, and I have similar hopes for Mitchell.

-Patrick Hayes

Make the most of floor time

Mitchell, a second round pick out of North Texas, is a really interesting player. He was a top prospect who was forced to go to North Texas because of grades, had a great freshman year but fell off tremendously in his sophomore campaign. He had a great Summer League in Orlando, where Pistons coaches raved about him. Considering the expectations for him, Mitchell must showcase all of his skills in the limited time he’ll see this season. He has been a good shooter, scorer and shot blocker in college, and he will have a chance to show that this season. He won’t get a lot of playing time this year, but it’s going to be exciting how he plays at the next level.

-Jameson Draper

Always be ready

There isn’t a whole lot to Tony Mitchell as a player. He’s going to rebound, he’s going to block some shots, and he’s going to provide an athletic presence on both sides of the court. The dilemma is that the Pistons already have a bigger, better version of that in Andre Drummond. Mitchell’s going to be a situational guy this season, but if he can focus on being an energy guy/rebounder/defender in limited minutes — basically, Jason Maxiell — he’ll be just fine.

- Brady Fredericksen


  • [...] unveils its “Playoff Push” segment, featuring some thoughtful musings on what Tony Mitchell needs to accomplish this [...]

  • Oct 6, 201311:34 am
    by Angry little man


    I would sure like to know how good of a player Mitchell is, I’m sure Joe would love to know as well. Could Mitchells development be the begaining of the end for Monroe ? Now I know this is way to soon to predict something like this. Still just in case Monroe does leave, Mitchell does give us some insurance in the front court. 

    • Oct 6, 201311:46 am
      by billy no bob


      we already bought insurance.  from a man named smith.

  • Oct 6, 20133:31 pm
    by danny


    Imagine this defense with: Stuckey, billups, mitchell, smith, and drummond.  Just think of the amount of ground they would be able to cover.  That is what he give us another person that is ABLE to shut players down.  Will he do it, that depends on him upping his IQ and I think sheed will help him blossom.  

    Hopefully he gets a lot of time in the D league early and will be able to provide energy and defensive presence later in the year.  I think he bumps out CV or JJ for the rotation.  His athletic ability and energy will cause a lot of excitement and easy buckets for our boys.  

    • Oct 6, 20134:57 pm
      by CityofKlompton


      I’m hoping for more and the potential is certainly there, but I’m expecting to see Jason Maxiell 2.0 at best if he plays this season.

    • Oct 7, 201310:47 am
      by MIKEYDE248


      With this line-up they would have nobody that can score.  They will end up losing games 72-24.

    • Oct 7, 201312:20 pm
      by tarsier


      Stuckey and Billups are both below average defenders.

      • Oct 7, 201312:31 pm
        by Danny


        I’m talking about size and like end of game situations.  Stuckey and billups are able to keep certain people from getting to the bucket and, if and when, they are beat we got the bigs to back it up.  I’m not saying run this defense the whole game, just in certain situations.  What I’m trying to get across here is that we have many possibilities on defense and offense DEPENDING on how the game is going. 
        Ill take smarts over age anytime of the week.  You can replace KCP with billups/stuckey that is just my preference. 

  • Oct 6, 20133:53 pm
    by Corey


    Replace Billups with KCP in that defensive lineup and you’d rally have something. Billups is 37 and his contribution will mostly be in running the offense well.

    as for Mitchell- very excited about him. He may or may not get to show much this year, but he appears to have the skill set and athleticism to be a quality nba player. By next year I expect him to be our 4th rotation big, making CV, JJ, etc pretty irrelevant. Wildly athletic AND a 40% 3 pt shooter his freshman year? Only 30% last year, but he’s clearly shown the potential. he could become a stretch 4 with great D and rebounding ability. Let’s just hope he locks in like Drummond last year. If he wants it bad enough, this kid could be a star. And he’s on contract for 3 years for a pittance (in NBA terms).

    Neither Mitchell nor smith can make Monroe expendable- someone needs to play 18 mpg at center behind Andre,  and someone has to be able to play there even more if Andre is hurt or in foul trouble. But if Smith keeps jacking up long J’s he can’t make, I could see Mitchell making HIM expendable two years from now.

  • Oct 7, 20139:11 am
    by hoophabit


    I was very pleased when Mitchell was still there when the Pistons picked early in the second round, and more than a little surprised.  Had he come out as a freshman he was a likely lottery pick.  That drop in production his second year really hurt his draft stock.  Everything from the combine measurements indicate he is equipped both athletically and by physique to be an excellent forward prospect.  I suppose the real question is can he discipline himself to play consistently hard and within himself and the team concept.  You don’t like to make excuses for poor effort on the floor, but West Texas was in disarray his Soph. year and sometimes young players live in the moment rather than seeing it as their job interview.  This is kind of in line with the doubts about Drummond going into last year’s draft and that worked out well for the Pistons, not that I’m comparing them as prospects.  Mitchell is a second round pick and so a great pick.  You could say it was a no risk high reward pick.  As was noted above, on top of the rebounding, shot blocking athlete is a guy who can actually make a shot.  As a Pistons fan, I’m certainly rooting for him.

  • Oct 7, 201310:01 am
    by Lee


    Does anyone know what website will be streaming the game tomorrow night for free?

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