The New York Knicks have a workout scheduled before the draft with Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell, per sources with knowledge of the club's workout schedule.
Mitchell, who stands 6-foot-3 with a 6-10 wingspan, intrigues members of the organization because of his profile as an elite perimeter defender -- an area where the club has struggled lately.
NBA talent evaluators see Mitchell as a player who has the potential to defend on the perimeter at an elite level. Avery Bradley and Victor Oladipo also come up frequently, but many evaluators see Mitchell as having a stronger offensive upside than Bradley and Oladipo.
Some have labeled Mitchell as the best backcourt defender in the draft, a title that others have bestowed upon Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox.
Mitchell has a unique blend of wingspan and athleticism (his vertical was recently measured at 40 inches). That length and athleticism lead evaluators to believe Mitchell will defend three positions (PG, SG, SF) at the next level.
The Knicks have several players on their radar with the No. 8 pick, including Kentucky's Malik Monk, French guard Frank Ntilikina and North Carolina State guard Dennis Smith Jr., per sources. Some members of the organization see Mitchell as part of that group.
Mitchell has already worked out for the Sacramento Kings, who own the No. 10 pick. The 20-year-old also has a workout scheduled for June 19 with the Dallas Mavericks, per sources. The Mavericks and Kings own the ninth and 10th overall picks, respectively. (The Kings also own the No. 5 pick.)
Members of the Knicks organization would like to acquire another first-round pick. But based on Mitchell's other workouts, he may not be available after the 10th pick.
It's worth noting that Mitchell fits the profile of the type of guards that Knicks president Phil Jackson has preferred in the past -- tall, with the ability to defend.
Jackson's Knicks have struggled on defense for much of the past three seasons. Those struggles can be attributed, in part, to subpar perimeter defense -- an area where Mitchell can help.
One other thing worth noting about Mitchell: Many top prospects prefer to work out individually for teams, but Mitchell thus far has eschewed those to instead work out in a group setting, according to sources. This tactic gives Mitchell the best chance to show his defensive prowess.
Mitchell hails from a Louisville program that prides itself on its play on that end of the floor. It's often said that Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino won't give minutes to a player who can't play defense.
Pitino, the former Knicks coach, has quietly been vouching to NBA executives that Mitchell will thrive at the next level.
The Westchester County native averaged 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game last season at Louisville. He also showed promise on the offensive end, putting up 28 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a win over NC State in late January. Some members of the organization believe that Mitchell can thrive in a big market like New York thanks to his experience at Louisville.
Some Knicks executives -- including Jackson and adviser Clarence Gaines Jr. -- watched Mitchell in person earlier this month during sports agency CAA's pro day in California. Mitchell shot well in that workout and displayed his strong vertical, and he'll have a chance to show Jackson & Co. what he can do one more time before the draft.