The Milwaukee Bucks proved that their buy-out of veteran Caron Butler's contract wasn't without prior planning. The team has already filled his vacant position with a prospect from the development league. This came just days after the forward's departure for Oklahoma City. 24-year-oldTony Mitchell was called up for a 10 day deal from the team's affiliate in Fort Wayne on Monday, marking his first trip to the NBA since graduating from Alabama in 2012. Mitchell has proven himself to be one of the most potent scoring threats in the D-League, averaging nearly 20 points and six rebounds this season. In his inaugural year in 2013, he managed 22 points per game in 45 starts. The six-foot-six small forward most recently won his second consecutive D-League dunk contest.
Mitchell's talent on offense was well recognized early in his collegiate career. By his junior season, the Alabama native was the Crimson Tide's second leading scorer and was already generating speculation as a potential first round pick. In February of that year, however, head coach Anthony Grant announced he was suspending Mitchell for the remainder of the season. Cited for conduct detrimental to the team, Mitchell failed to recover following his return for his senior season, averaging fewer starts, minutes, and points.
Reviews of the Bucks decision to elevate Mitchell in the wake of Butler's dismissal have been generally positive. His numbers with the Mad Ants have been reminiscent of his better college days, and a clean bill of health throughout his time in Fort Wayne is a refreshing change from the seemingly-forever afflicted Epke Udoh. The timing was also nearly perfect, said some, as it is likely that Charlotte, Detroit, Indiana, Minnesota, and Orlando were also taking notice of Mitchell's accession. Those five share Milwaukee's affiliation with the Mad Ants.