Tony Mitchell's roster spot depends on defense

Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

If undrafted rookie Tony Mitchell makes the Kings, it'll be because of defense.

Barring any surprises, you wouldn't expect the Sacramento Kings to add a wing to the roster. The team has 14 guaranteed contracts on the books, and even cut loose Hassan Whiteside to make room way back in the summer. The team has most frequently carried 14 players, despite a league max of 15 -- most teams, in fact, carry 13 or 14 players until injuries strike and/or 10-day contracts become allowed.

But based on Jason Jones' Bee report, the Kings are seriously looking at keeping undrafted rookie Tony Mitchell around.

Mitchell's summer league consistency stood out to the Kings, as did the idea he could eventually be the defensive help they have sought at guard and small forward.

"One of the reasons he's back is because we see the potential in him," Smart said. "And all we have to do is keep cultivating it ... ."

Mitchell was probably the Kings' third-best player at Summer League behind Josh Akognon and Thomas Robinson; Akognon is trying to make the Mavericks right now. James Johnson showed in the first preseason game that he can be a plus defender at the forward spots; if you keep Mitchell, it's to help defend at two-guard and small forward. In theory, Tyreke Evans should provide the defense to the two. But having another option wouldn't be bad.

Mitchell played less than five minutes in the Kings' preseason opener. The next night out is Monday.

Be sure to check out James Ham's piece on the four players fighting for the spot, too.

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