Atlanta Hawks: Could Skylar Mays earn some rotation minutes

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks had a truly horrendous game against the San Antonio Spurs. Well, for three quarters they were really bad. When the Spurs were 40 points up with just over 11 minutes to go in the fourth period, the Hawks came back and only lost it by 11 points. This was a much more respectable scoreline than they deserved.

So, how did they come back so much in the last? The answer was in large part due to two-way player Skylar Mays. The 6’4″ player out of LSU was taken with the 50th pick of the 2020 NBA draft and then signed to a two-way deal less than a week later.

Mays has now played seven games for the season and this was the first time he had looked like an NBA player. Prior to the Spurs game, Mays had taken just six field-goal attempts, missing them all. He had scored two free throws in the game against the Utah Jazz which were his only NBA points until this game

The Atlanta Hawks needed to see this from Skylar Mays

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Mays, until the Spurs game, was going to be another two-way player who was never going to realize his potential. One problem for Mays is the Hawks G-League team is not playing in their shortened bubble season. This means that Mays was trying to prove himself in junk time in the big league.

Well, junk time started in the third period against the Spurs so Mays got 17 minutes of game time to show what he is capable of. His response was to collect a stat line of 20 points, three assists, one rebound, and one steal. He shot the ball at 7-of-10 from the floor, 4-of-5 from deep, and 2-of-2 from the line.

Even more impressive was that Mays and third-year man Brandon Goodwin led the team back in the fourth period. Mays was plus 25 on the game and this marked the third game in a row he did not have a negative impact on the box score.

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If he can keep showing this sort of impact on the game he may slowly carve out some regular playing time within the rotation, especially if the Hawks continue to struggle with injury.