We’re back with a new episode in our series where we spotlight and break down WNBA players’ style of play. With All-Star voting fresh on our minds, we had to shine the light on Indiana Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell, who’s currently ranked 13th in the league with 17.5 points per game and fourth in 3-pointers made. The former Ohio State Buckeye also just received the 2023 WNBA Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award. Let’s take a look at how Kelsey – who became the NCAA all-time leader in career three-pointers back in 2017 (with 401) – consistently gets it done on the professional court by checking out what makes her game different.
OK first things first: Kelsey’s the queen of knocking down contested threes. Her quick release ensures she can get the shot off with just inches of space. Last season she shot a strong 40% from the three, and earned the majority of her points there. She’s also got strong shot selection which helps her percentage. If a teammate is open and hit their last few shots, she’s going to find them.
But the thing is, her shooting percentage is incredibly high when it comes to her mid-range game. So while you know you have to guard her for the three, you’ve to anticipate her countering to make you pay in the mid-range. Kelsey’s great at finding crafty ways of to get to the foul line corners especially, and she can use both hands on the drive, making her especially hard to predict.
Kelsey’s also incredibly strong at finding spacing. Using the pick and roll she’s often able to lock her defender on her back and/or find spacing to get off a shot before the big steps up. In this first video, she retreats into the open space behind her — that’s next level court awareness.
Meanwhile here she slips between multiple defenders and pulls up with just enough room to get off a good look.
That leads into the next attribute that makes Kelsey’s game so fun to watch: she’s got extreme control of her speed. She’s able to speed up, slow down, stop on a dime, and vary her pace all sorts of ways making her incredibly unpredictable. Watch how quickly she’s able to surprise the defender by decelerating before she knocks down the shot here.
This is an area of Kelsey’s game she’s really worked to develop, and the results are paying off. Kelsey is now able to cradle the ball, manipulate it, or use her off arm on her drives.
Beyond the physical aspects of her game, Kelsey is also locked in mentally, and has benefited as a result. When asked about how she thought her game improved throughout the 2022 season, she said, “I think my biggest jump was mentally not letting anything deter me from what was important to me. A lot of times in life you get bogged down by everything else that’s going on and what everybody else is doing. I’m always big on if you spend a lot of time comparing yourself to others you’re going to lose. So it was just about staying sure mentally that I stayed in tune to my work and my process.”
To improve your game and practice playing like Kelsey Mitchell explore:
We’re Prada Kelsey Mitchell’s bag’s evolution. And we can’t wait to see how her game continues to evolve. Up next, learn how dynamic Chicago Sky guard Kahleah Copper gets big buckets off the drive.