Friday, April 19 2024

Kings guard Mitchell explains his defensive mindset against NBA stars originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Kings guard Davion Mitchell earned his “Off Night” nickname for his defensive prowess, as he has never backed down from a challenge.

For the offensive-oriented Sacramento, Mitchell is the defensive specialist consistently guarding opposing teams’ best perimeter players.

In an interview with NBC Sports California’s Kyle Draper, Mitchell explained how he approaches defensive matchups with the NBA’s best, like Steph Curry and Devin Booker.

“You always got to be on your P’s and Q’s with those guys,” Mitchell told Draper. “Because they’re really good, and they’ve played against good defenders before. So, you try to give them something they’ve never seen before, try to be more physical, try to beat them to spots.”

Mitchell credits his physical attributes for beating some of the league’s best offensive players to their favorable zones, emphasizing the benefits of his six-foot, 205-pound frame.

“The thing about me, I’m smaller than a lot of guys in the NBA,” Mitchell proudly explained to Draper. “I’m quicker laterally. I’m also stronger. I can get under them. My legs are strong, so I could take the bump. I can get through screens because I’m strong enough and I’m fast enough.

“There’s always going to be cons and pros about [my height]. I’m OK with my defensive abilities. I feel like I’m the best defender in the league. A lot of people know I can guard.”

“Off Night” is shifty as they come, comfortably navigating through heavy screens and traffic for the Kings’ defense.

But while his play suggests otherwise, Mitchell didn’t develop into one of the NBA’s best defenders overnight.

Instead, he looked to a close family member for inspiration and skills.

“My uncle named Daron Mitchell, who I’m really close to, who I look up to,” Mitchell shared with Draper. “Especially when I was younger, I used to follow him everywhere. Growing up, even when he had two messed up knees and I got better in basketball, even in high school, he would always guard me.

“It would be everyone in the gym, and he would be like, ‘I got [Davion].’ He would guard me very well. And I’m like, ‘How do you play defense like this?’ I just learned little things from him. Honestly, I think that’s where I got it from.”

Mitchell appreciated his uncle Daron’s ability to lock him down, even with knee issues in both legs and represents him every game as he plays with a tenacity only Sacramento’s fans could love.

Simply put, Mitchell’s mentality is spot-on for one of the NBA’s best defenders and is crucial to the overall success of the offensive-minded Kings.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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