Pitino says Knicks told him they couldn't take Mitchell at No. 8.
Former Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino was always confident that Donovan Mitchell would turn into an NBA star, and he tried to convince the New York Knicks to select the Louisville product with their eighth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. As we know, the Knicks passed on Mitchell and ultimately selected French point guard Frank Ntilikina.
During a recent appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio, Pitino revealed how he tried to tell the Knicks that Mitchell was the right pick at No. 8 but they insisted that the couldn't take him that high.
Of course, if you look back on any NBA Draft, or a draft in any sport for that matter, you'll find instances where teams mistakenly passed on high caliber players. In fact, there were four other teams that had the chance to draft Mitchell after the Knicks (Mavericks, Kings, Hornets, Pistons) before he was finally picked up by the Denver Nuggets, who then immediately traded him to the Utah Jazz.
Mitchell produced from the jump, averaging 20.5 points with 3.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game in his rookie season while earning All-Rookie First Team honors. His numbers have improved in each season since and he is currently averaging 24.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists through Utah's first 14 games.
Meanwhile, the jury is still out on Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina. The 21-year old point guard has just recently established himself as the team's starting point guard and he has shown flashes of brilliance on defense while slowly but surely gaining his confidence on the offensive end of the floor.
Still, Knicks fans will always be left wondering what could have been.