Being a second-round pick in the NBA Draft means nothing is guaranteed. No guaranteed money, no guaranteed playing time and no guaranteed spot on the roster. Atlanta's Mike Scott has faced those challenges head on and is emerging as key player for the Hawks.
Scott has nearly doubled his scoring average from last season averaging while shooting a career-best 48 percent. As a reserve he often gets limited opportunities but if you base Scott's play on per 36 minutes then his scoring average jumps to 19.1. Most teams would love to have a guy capable of scoring 19 points a game while shooting 48 percent from the field. He has stepped his game up of late 12.8 points over the last six games. He quickly becoming Atlanta's best scoring option off the bench.
Our own Jason Walker recently talked about the praise coming from NBA Scouts in regards to Atlanta's player development. As he pointed out that isn't something that we are used to hearing. Jason touched a bit on Jeff Teague in the article but its Scott who perhaps has developed the most since last season.
Scott worked hard over the summer to shed some weight and add range to his jumpshot. He shot 47 percent in limited opportunities as a rookie but only attempted one three pointer on the season. This year Scott added the three pointer to his arsenal. He's already made 24 threes this season and is shooting 31 percent from deep. That percentage isn't very impressive but it puts pressure on the defense and forces them to extend out to cover Scott.
Mike Budenholzer recently talked about Scott's development and what he is bringing to the team:
''Mike has really been a bright spot for us in his growth and development,'' Budenholzer said. ''I think it's a credit to how much work and time he put in this summer. ... His abilities are a good fit for us. His ability to stretch the floor and make 3s and then he plays with a great pace and in transition he gets out and runs and can slam down some dunks.''
Its been a while since Atlanta had one of their own second round picks play a big part for their team. For Scott who enters the offseason as a restricted free agent, the timing couldn't be any better.