Fresh off a dominant victory in the NCAA Championship game earlier this month, some Baylor Bears are looking to a potential future in the NBA. Particularly, two electric guards who combined to give Baylor one of the most formidable backcourts in the nation — Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler — could be perfect fits in Washington.
According to Bears’ assistant coach Bill Peterson, the Wizards should jump at the opportunity to draft either one of them.
“Well, if the Wizards get either one…Tommy Sheppard’s a friend of mine, tell him he needs to take one of ‘em, okay,” Peterson said in an interview with the Wizards Pregame Live crew on Saturday. “They both, bottom line, and I know you hear this a lot, they’re winners. I’m pretty sure our record in two years here with both of those guys starting is 56-6. We’ve won more games in two years than any Power-5 team.”
It’s true that the two guards are winners, and they have a championship trophy to prove it. Both juniors, Mitchell and Butler saw their draft stock rise during March Madness. Butler led the Bears last season in points (16.7) and steals (2.0) per game, while Mitchell led the team in assists (5.5). In NBC Sports Washington’s latest 2021 NBA mock draft, Mitchell is projected to go 11th overall to New Orleans and Butler is pegged to go 25th to Denver.
Both Butler and Mitchell are known for their exceptional defense, a facet that has doomed Washington in several games this season as they rank 26th in defensive efficiency. Defensive guards with the ability to shoot the three the way the two Baylor stars can would do wonders in D.C.
“[Jared Butler] is a great leader, he can really shoot the ball and he’s the kind of kid who sees the game ahead. He’s really worked on film study, getting his feet quicker,” Peterson said. “He’s a clutch player, man. He loves those big shots. He’s gonna be a really solid player for somebody because of his ability to score the ball and make plays.”
Butler was indeed a consensus All-American this past season and a Big-12 All-Defense selection. His shutdown ability was a key reason Baylor was able to win the title.
“And then Davion Mitchell—he went from a guy at Auburn that was averaging three points a game and he had really good talent. But he was known, he couldn’t shoot, he wasn’t a very good shooter…That kid would be in [the gym] in the morning, he’d be in the afternoon, he’d be in the evening, shooting that three,” Peterson said. “He got where he was a really good three-point shooter, which he is…He’s a really good defender. He can lock anybody up any time.”
Mitchell hit 44.7% of his threes last season on 4.7 attempts per game — mouth-watering numbers for any NBA GM.
Prior to Baylor, Peterson was an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks from 2007-13 and a player development coach and scout for the Dallas Mavericks from 1999-2000, working with players like Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash. Mitchell and Butler both get the Bill Peterson stamp of approval, which should make NBA teams give them an extra look as the draft comes closer.