Today marks the final day of preseason games in the NBA and fans and organizations alike are beginning to gear up for the regular-season opener on Tuesday. For Hawks fans, the aftermath of Atlanta’s preseason finale is leaving many fans excited for the new season despite a 1-6 record.
Mike Scott has been a name on the lips of many fans over the past couple of weeks and the attention is well deserved. It has been less than four weeks since I was here writing about what to watch for when Mike was on the floor this season and what his future may hold. Literally the same day new Hawks.com writer Robby Kalland reported that Mike shed 15 pounds over the summer, a factor that will help with the possible increased play at SF this season.
Mike Scott’s hard work provided some great results the past two weeks as he averaged 12 points a night; Al Horford and Paul Millsap were the only other Hawks to average more.
Scott went into the preseason with a lot of unknowns surrounding him. With only a partially guaranteed contract (100k), the Hawks could have easily replaced him if he failed to perform. He took that into account during the first preseason opener in Miami and provided 13 points and six rebounds in just under 21 minutes. The following night in Asheville, he showed no signs of slowing down as he increased his output to 19 points against the Charlotte Bobcats while once again grabbing six rebounds in the process. Scott scored double-digits in five of the seven exhibition match-ups. He finished the preseason with two more impressive performances, putting up 17 points against the Indiana Pacers followed by a 19-point against the Dallas Mavericks in the finale.
The most impressive stat to take away from this preseason for Scott was his 62% shooting from the field overall. He also showed off his improved range as he shot 42% from beyond the arc.
So, where does the team go from here with Mike? His contract won’t be fully guaranteed until January, but he should be a lock for the opening night roster. The injury to Gustavo Ayon will leave the Hawks in dire need for Scott’s services, and with a rather up and down preseason for Pero Antic, Scott should be the primary backup at power forward as Ayon heals.
Going forward, Scott will be an interesting scoring option at the disposal of coach Mike Budenholzer. If the three-point shooting we’ve seen continues, then it will be no surprise to see him sub in at the small forward position if needed. DeMarre Carroll looks to be the favorite to start at SF for the Hawks, but depth at the wing continues to be a concern. If the Hawks were to waive training camp invites Cartier Martin and Eric Dawson in the next couple of days, the coaching staff will be making it clear that Scott will be playing small forward often this season.
Scott should be looking forward to his opportunity to show his worth in the NBA and already seems to be carving a role out with Atlanta. Keep an eye on him when the Hawks start the season in Dallas next Wednesday.