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Utah Jazz: Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell out to prove he’s among best in the draft

Jazz • Guard the top prospect out of Saturday’s workouts.

Louisville's Donovan Mitchell (45) attempts to get past the defense of Duke's Chase Jeter (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Donovan Mitchell, like many 6-foot-3 shooting guards in college basketball, has to prove himself at the NBA level.

Can he play point guard? Can he defend on the wing? Which of his skills translate from the college game to the pros?

Those are some of the questions Mitchell sought to answer Saturday morning when he worked out for the Utah Jazz.

"I think it all starts defensively," said Mitchell, who is billed as one of the top 20 players in June's NBA draft. "I think that I can play and defend both positions. At the end of the day, I want to be quick enough to guard guys like Russell Westbrook and big enough to guard guys like Klay Thompson. So I think I can do both."

The Louisville star is one of the most explosive scorers in the draft, someone who can get to the basket with ease off the dribble but also someone who possesses a lethal jump shot. He averaged 15.6 points per game for the Cardinals, shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 80.6 percent from the free-throw line. He also averaged 4.9 rebounds per game.

And he's proved himself as a two-way player on the collegiate level. He led a Louisville team that struggled to score to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a top-10 national ranking. The Jazz felt fortunate they could secure a workout from him because his projected draft range sits above Utah's first-round positions at 24 and 30.

Mitchell is considered undersized for a shooting guard and hasn't played much at point guard. So these workouts allow him an opportunity to quell fears any executives may have about his physical profile.

"Donovan looked good out there today," former Kansas star Frank Mason said. "He shot the ball very well, he has a great motor and he's very quick and strong."

Mitchell measured out with a 6-foot-10 wingspan at the NBA's Draft Combine a few weeks ago, which should help negate any size disadvantage. He's also a great athlete who has very little trouble getting off a shot in traffic.

Others at Saturday's workout includes Mason, Villanova star Josh Hart, Amile Jefferson from Duke, Devin Robinson out of Florida and Virginia's London Perrantes. Mitchell was the only player at Saturday's workout currently carrying a first-round grade.

"They all came here in great shape," Jazz VP of Player Personnel Walt Perrin said. "It's a tribute to the programs they played at. You can tell they were all well coached. Everyone played hard."

tjones@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz

Louisville's Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots over Duke's Matt Jones (13) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville won 78-69. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Louisville's Donovan Mitchell, top, goes in for a layup past the defense of Duke's Jayson Tatum (0) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville won 78-69. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Louisville's Donovan Mitchell (45) goes in for a layup ahead of Duke's Jayson Tatum (0) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville won 78-69. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell (45) makes a layup during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Charlottesville, Va., Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots over Michigan guard Zak Irvin (21) during the first half of a second-round game in the men’s NCAA college basketball tournament in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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