Atlanta Hawks Player Preview: Mike Muscala


Mike Muscala

  • Height: 6’11
  • Age: 24
  • Entering 3rd NBA season
  • College: Bucknell

Mike Muscala #31 2014-15 Stats

  • 4.9 Points per game
  • 3.0 Rebounds per game
  • 0.6 Assists per game
  • 0.4 Steals per game
  • 55 percent field goal percentage
  • 41 percent three-point percentage
  • 88 percent free-throw percentage

2014-15 Season Recap

Mike Muscala is a fan favorite here with the Atlanta Hawks. After not doing much to start his career during his rookie season, “Moose” stepped up as a solid big man back-up last season. After only getting in 20 games his first season, he doubled his total last year with 40 games and 12.6 minutes per game. Towards the end of the season, when Paul Millsap or Al Horford needed to be spared, Muscala was one of the first guys Coach Bud would replace them with.

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Muscala began the 2014 season going back and forth from the D-League. He would be called to play for the Hawks periodically and would put up decent numbers. Coach Bud liked to use him in the first half of games to give him a chance to play with Millsap or Horford.

As the season went on, Moose improved his game greatly. He began to find himself in the rotation by the All-Star break. He was a big part of the Hawks 19 game win streak early in the calendar year.

There were nights where Muscala was the best rebounder on the floor. There were nights when Moose couldn’t miss a midrange jumper. This particular game was arguably the best of his career. In a late March game in Charlotte, Muscala went for his career high 18 points. This game was instrumental in proving to Coach Bud and the Hawks staff that he can play in big minutes like the playoffs.

And that is just what happened. Muscala found himself playing 10.2 minutes per game during the Hawks postseason run.

He shined in Game 3 against the Wizards in Washington. When a banged up Hawks team was getting destroyed by the hot Wizards, Coach Bud emptied the bench and let players like Muscala try to create a magical comeback. And they did. They came back to get within 3 points, with the ball, with only 20 seconds on the clock. When Dennis Schroder took his dribble to the ground, he flipped it back to a wide open Mike Muscala at the top of key. Moose drained what will probably always be the biggest shot of his career. The Hawks ended up losing the game on a Paul Pierce bank shot the next possession, but it was still a very impressive comeback and clutch shot by Muscala. Check out the video below.

2015-16 Season Preview

So what’s next for Musky? Well, problem the same type of season. When the Hawks announced Pero Antic was heading back to Europe, that meant Muscala was in for an increase in playing time. However, he probably ended up giving up the minutes he gained from Antic to former Spurs big man, Tiago Splitter, who the Hawks got shortly after Antic left. Also, the Hawks retained Paul Millsap, who will without a doubt play plenty of minutes at the power forward position.

Muscala will probably be the second big man off the bench this season for Atlanta after Splitter, especially if Mike Scott is held down by his legal troubles. Therefore, the Bucknell big man will definitely have a chance to see his stock continue to rise.

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  • Muscala probably will not see as much time in the D-League as he did last season. It will be good for him to continue to get real NBA experience. As the 2015-2016 season goes on, Coach Bud will most likely start mixing Moose in with the

    Muscala’s game is a very fundamental, smooth show. His jumper continues to impress me, especially from midrange. He is deadly in the pick and pop. He is a very good rebounder thanks to his length and basketball intelligence. He is also coming along defensively. His long arms and smart instincts give him a chance to defend some of the NBA’s best big men.

    If there was something Muscala could improve and get more minutes with, I would say he could be more aggressive. He is a very good free-throw shooter for a big man. Therefore, he needs to get to the line more. Also, at times he doesn’t take shots that he has a good look at. It is good that he looks to pass first, but he needs to understand Coach Bud wants players who aren’t afraid to go up at the basket.

    All in all, this is a big year for Mike Muscala. I look forward to continue watching this young man improve his game, and all of Philips Arena echoing “MOOOOOOOOSE” when he knocks down a three-pointer.

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