Shelvin Mack was little more than an afterthought when training camp opened. After all the Atlanta Hawks had just re-signed Jeff Teague to a four-year deal and drafted Dennis Schröder in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft. Teague is off to a career-best start but Schröder struggled as the team's backup point guard which afforded Mack an opportunity. Since then he has grasped that opportunity with both hands and doesn't look like he is going to give it up any time soon.
On Saturday, Mack continued his recent string of good performances playing 24 minutes against his former team the Washington Wizards while finishing with 11 points, six assists and four steals.
A quick glance at Mack's numbers shows why he is in the lineup. He has been rock solid defensively and steady influence on offense. Per mysynergysports.com, Mack is ranked 16th in the NBA overall allowing 0.66 points per possession. The Hawks as a team have excelled at defending the pick and roll ball handler and Mack is second in the league in that category at 0.36 points per possession. Mack's opponents are 6-24 from the field in pick and roll situations. Its no wonder that Mack found himself in the lineup in place of Teague for the final possession in Friday's win over Dallas.
Offensively Mack has been steady and provided some long distance shooting to the tune of 41 percent. Perhaps the most important number though is in the turnover column where he is averaging 0.7 per game. To put that in proper perspective Mack has eight turnovers on the season in 12 games played.
If Mike Budenholzer has shown anything over the first 18 games of the season its that players on the roster are likely to get chances. Mack seized on his opportunity but the Hawks will also need to find time for Schröder eventually this season. Often these situations play themselves out over an 82 game season.
Mack is still just 24 years old and is still somewhat of a prospect in his own right. In now his third season in the league he is showing that he has the talent to stick.