After taking to the podium for the first time since last spring, De’Aaron Fox had great things to say about No. 9 overall pick Davion Mitchell on Monday.
Through the summer, social media showed us that Mitchell, Tyrese Haliburton and a few of the Sacramento Kings’ Summer League regularly worked out together. Although Fox was always missing from those moments, he told reporters that he has been able to get some run in with his new teammates and he’s been impressed with Mitchell’s maturity, both physically and mentally.
“He’s an older rookie so he’s more NBA-ready, and he’s a stronger guy — he’s like over 200 lbs. and 6’0-6’1,” Fox said. “I think he’s ready to contribute to the team now. We’ve played pickup and he’s an NBA player.”
To Fox’s point, Mitchell is actually older Haliburton and only a few months younger than Fox. While the narrative surrounding Sacramento the last few years as been a “young roster” and continuing the “youth movement,” Mitchell already has an impressive resume at the age of 24, winning an NCAA championship and making back-to-back Big 12 All- Defensive Teams.
Mitchell’s experience and championship pedigree fits perfectly with the culture of winning the Kings are trying to build, and for those reasons, Fox wants the narrative to shift beyond Mitchell being a rookie phenom:
“Obviously this year, people are going to say ‘rookie this, rookie that,’ but for us, we’re not looking at it that way the same way we didn’t with Tyrese last year — he’s an NBA player,” Fox said. “We’re not worried about him being a rookie of if he’s in third or fourth season. That doesn’t matter for us and he’s definitely going to come in and help us change a lot things.”
So with that, we have our star player acknowledging that there are other young stars that will be looking to shine beside him, next to him, near him, around him, etc. As Fox enters his fifth season in the NBA alongside a first-year guard who is 9 months his junior, it’s clear that being NBA-ready is top of mind for the pair.