I typically don't put much stock into the D-League's weekly awards, but I'd been meaning to mention Tasmin Mitchell's recent performance for awhile so this seems like a good time to do it. (We all know Patrick Ewing Jr. is a good player with bad shot selection, right?)
Mitchell, a 6-foot-7 tweener forward, was undrafted out of LSU despite averaging 16.8 points and 9.4 rebounds as a senior. After being invited -- and then unceremoniously released -- to play this preseason with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Mitchell's played all season with the Cavs' affiliated Erie BayHawks.
After getting sporadic playing time early in the season, Mitchell's found a solid spot in coach Jay Larranaga's rotation as of late with Garrett Temple being called up to the Charlotte Bobcats and Ivan Johnson now coming off of the bench. It's paying off in a big way for Mitchell's production, too.
Over his last 10 games, including three starts, Mitchell's averaging 22.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals while making 58 percent of his field goal attempts. His season averages aren't terrible, either, with 16.5 points and 5.6 boards in around 32 minutes of action per game.
The BayHawks have the fourth-best record in the D-League with 27 wins compared to 14 losses and while they have plenty of scoring with Ivan Johnson and Blake Ahearn leading the way, I'd venture to say the play of Mitchell -- along with Temple and fellow under-appreciated Erieite Nate Linhart (I'll have to check with D-League Digest's Matt Hubert -- are the reason the BayHawks are having this solid of a season.
Mitchell still has mostly the same flaws that he did as a Tiger because it's not easy for a 24-year-old to drastically change from an undersized power forward into a perimeter scorer when he's actually good at playing in the post, but the fact that he's still able to make it work at the D-League level should give NBA scouts a reason to pay attention.
According to Synergy Sports Technology, Mitchell is excellent in post-up situations -- a play-type he sees on offense more than any other. He's strong enough to establish good position, but what happens after that it kind of turns into a crap shoot as he's able to score with running hooks, face-up jumpers, spin moves and random acts of overpowerment (It's a word(I just invented)). I think the reason he's able to do work in the post, though, is that he's typically matched up with an opposing wing.
The reason he's matched up with an opposing wing as opposed to somebody that might be able to stifle his low-post game is pretty simply due to the match-up problems he can create. Though he's not the quickest perimeter defender you'll see in the D-League, he's more than able to hold his own when guarding most small forwards in the D-League which often means that he can come into the game as a 3-man on defense while exploiting his defender in the post.
I'm not sure if Mitchell will get a look this season -- though I'd assume the Cavs would be interested if it weren't for that pesky 15-man roster maximum -- but he's certainly intriguing enough to get some looks throughout the summer as long as the lockout doesn't drastically alter the Summer League circuit and ensuing preseason.