A welcome sight for Kings fans Tuesday afternoon was rookie Davion Mitchell participating in a pre-training camp practice alongside De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Jahmi’us Ramsey and a few other players.
Mitchell sat down with the media following their time on the hardwood and shed light on what he believes to be a realistic expectation for Sacramento: taking a leap into playoff territory:
“I feel like we’ve got the pieces,” Mitchell said. “I feel like we’ve got everything to make the playoffs. For me, just being myself on the court. I heard the past few years we have not been that good defensively, so if we turn that around, we can win more games and we can easily get to the playoffs.”
What stands out here is Mitchell’s awareness of the team he is coming to. Knowing the Kings’ history, the importance of what has been missing and the areas they need to improve — all point to a high basketball IQ, something that Fox alluded to in his talks with the media on Monday.
Two things that Sacramento has desperately lacked in the last two seasons have been defense and chemistry. Some Kings fans can trace back that missing chemistry to the trade deadline of 2019, when the Kings were in the No. 8 seed and Iman Shumpert lovingly named us the “Sacramento Scores”. Defense was a given and the Kings had the worst defensive rating in NBA history in the 2020-21 season.
However, I think that Mitchell, alongside fan-favorite Haliburton, could be the answer to these questions. Building around Fox, Mitchell and Haliburton both on and off the court will be essential in Sacramento’s success this season.
With training camp next week, I look forward to seeing how other veterans respond to these budding friendships, and if we can continue to build on the chemistry that the Kings are searching to reestablish.