Barry Jackson

Heat summons guard in draft range at No. 14

Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino and Louisville Cardinals guard Donovan Mitchell (45) joke with the official on a play in the second half Fri., March 17, 2017, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. Louisville beat Jacksonville State 78-63.
Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino and Louisville Cardinals guard Donovan Mitchell (45) joke with the official on a play in the second half Fri., March 17, 2017, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. Louisville beat Jacksonville State 78-63. TNS

Donovan Mitchell, a 6-3 combo guard projected for Miami’s draft range at No. 14, will work out for the Heat on Tuesday, according to league sources.

Mitchell is a skilled defender (first-team All-ACC defender; 2.1 steals per game last season, which led the ACC), a good rebounder for his position (4.9 per game) and a capable scorer (15.6 points per game last season).

But his shooting percentage dropped from 44.2 percent as a freshman to 40.8 percent last season, as a sophomore. He shot 35.4 percent on threes last season (80 for 226).

Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Mitchell will be a point guard in the pros, noting he did his best work at that position. But some scouts project him more as a shooting guard.

Mitchell had 93 assists and 56 turnovers last season and averaged only 2.7 assists per game.

ESPN’s Chad Ford has Mitchell rising to 11th in his latest mock draft.

“Mitchell has been one of the highest risers in the draft since his season ended,” Ford said. “NBA scouts are talking themselves into his elite combination of athleticism, length and versatility. Some teams think he can play some point; others see him as the next Eric Gordon. His versatility will be a strong selling point for the Hornets.”

With Mitchell, there could be position overlap with Tyler Johnson, but the Heat wants to diligently exam all players projected for its draft range. But the Heat might need a guard if Dion Waiters signs elsewhere or Wayne Ellington’s $6.3 million contract isn’t guaranteed by the July 7 deadline.

One scout with whom I spoke raved about him; another told me he views Mitchell as an NBA backup.

“He’s a guy who’s coming from a pedigreed program,” another scout told NBA.com’s David Aldridge. “He’s been taught well. He’s been pushed hard. He’s been pushed to play defense. And he’s accepted all of that and he’s thrived in it. And he’s had a really good year this year. Does he become along the lines of -- and I don’t know if he’s there yet, or if he’ll ever be there -- of an Avery Bradley-type shooting guard, who’s more of a defender than he is a shooter? Does Donovan become that? I don’t know.”

Another scout told Aldridge: “What he really needs to work on is his decision making, and how he’s going to be able to run a pick-and-roll, screen-and-roll, screen-pop, that sort of thing. Can he make the pocket pass? Can he make the correct pass off the pick and roll to the guy in the far corner, or kicking it back to the guy in the near corner? Can he make that correct read? That’s what he needs to work on.”

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