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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Alabama F Tony Mitchell

As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics [1] own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins [2] trade) and 51.


Position: Small forward

School: Alabama

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 213 pounds

Achievements: MVP of Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament (2011), second-team All-SEC (2011), SEC All-Freshman team (2010)

Key 2011-12 stats: 13.1 points, 7.0 rebounds in 22 games

What he brings: Mitchell has the physical gifts and athleticism that make him a prototypical wing player at the NBA level. His long wingspan makes him a strong asset on the defensive end of the floor. He averaged 7.2 defensive rebounds and 1.3 steals per game last season, and his defensive prowess can lead to forced turnovers that Mitchell converts into highlight dunks.

Mitchell’s offensive arsenal is very limited, and his versatility on that end of the floor will be questioned at the next level. He averaged only 50.5 percent on two-pointers in 2011-12, although he did improve his mid-range ability, but his mechanics are still in development. His 3-point and free throw shooting also need to improve for him to be a volatile long-term NBA player.

On offense, Mitchell struggles to create his own shot, and he relies on dunks and catch-and-shoot situations for his offensive production. His ball-handling is less than average and he’ll need to work on improving his left hand and creativity to create offense for himself, especially at the NBA level.

Where the Celtics could get him: If he is drafted, Mitchell is expected to go late in the second round.

Notes: In February, Mitchell was suspended for the remainder of the season by Crimson Tide [3] coach Anthony Grant for conduct detrimental to the team. Mitchell decided to enter the NBA draft this year instead of returning to school and trying to finish his collegiate career on a positive note.

Recent articles:

New York Post: After problems at Alabama, Mitchell impresses at Nets camp [4]

Capstone Report: Tony Mitchell’s suspension much needed [5]

Video: Here’s a compilation of Mitchell’s five dunks against Georgetown early last season.