Atlanta Selects Scott In NBA Draft
Jun 28, 2012
UVa forward Mike Scott earned a spot on the All-ACC team this season.
The Atlanta Hawks selected Virginia forward Mike Scott with the No. 43 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft on Thursday night. Scott is the first UVa player to be drafted since Sean Singletary in 2008; Singletary went to Sacramento one spot earlier at No. 42.
So how does Atlanta look as an opportunity for Scott?
I see this as a good fit for the UVa forward. First and foremost, the Hawks are a playoff team. I think that's the type of environment an older player like Scott can be most productive. There won't be the need for him to provide major production for a struggling non-playoff caliber team and he can carve out a niche role, which is the ideal situation for someone with a specialty like Scott's mid-range jumper.
The Hawks Like to use the power forward spot as a floor-spacing position for drivers like Joe Johnson and Jeff Teague. That's where that dead-eye mid-range jumper should benefit Scott. In the ball-screen-loving NBA, he can set that on-ball screen and then pop away as a jumpshot threat. If he's not the screener, he can space out to the weak side as a throw-back shooting option. If he can increase his range out consistently to the NBA 3-pointer corner, the shortest bonus-ball shot on the NBA floor at 22 feet, he becomes an even more valuable floor-spacing option. Atlanta's starting power forward Josh Smith, for example, attempted 1.7 3-pointers per game last season. He also could be a good high-low foil with Al Horford as two players who can face up and pass either from the extended post area in the short corner or on the elbows; Horford averaged 2.2 assists per game last season.
Scott, who was a first-team All-ACC selection as a senior, averaged 18.0 points and 8.3 rebounds a game last season as well as 1.2 assists. He made 56.3 percent of his shots (215-382) from the field. He finished first among ACC players in field goal percentage, second in scoring, fifth in rebounding and seventh in free throw percentage. He finished his Cavalier career ranked third in rebounds (944), third in double-doubles (34) and 16th in points scored (1,538) on UVa's all-time lists.
"I think a lot of the people like his ability to do something that's specified. He's got that specialty, that fall-away, mid-range 17- to 18-foot jumpshot, that's pretty automatic for him. The NBA game is so specialized. You see the isolation and the spacing where [they] ball screen and separate. If you've got a guy who can space the floor, those four-men that can stretch it, Mike is showing that he has that and he looks good and I think people have been very impressed with what they've seen," UVa coach Tony Bennett said in this recent Sabre.com article.
Defensively, the Hawks' current personnel probably means Scott won't have to try to guard the small forward slot too often. The more athletic Smith, who starts at power forward, small forward Marvin Williams at 6'9", or Johnson would likely draw that assignment first while Scott likely would be asked to bang down low with post players. Of course, the NBA's Eastern Conference isn't exactly loaded with big-bodied posts anyway so just landing in the East seems to be a good thing for Scott too. The Hawks don't have a dominant shot-blocking threat currently (though Smith and Horford both averaged more than 1 block per game last season) so Scott won't have a lot of help behind him in that regard defensively.
All in all, this looks like a good position for Scott (based on his Twitter feed, it looks like he worked out in Atlanta on June 22) to try to earn an NBA roster spot. At the No. 43 slot, it's also a good value selection for a playoff team like the Hawks.
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