It has been a running theme throughout the beginning of our player review series to see players who were on the verge of being cut during training camp actually emerge as real contributors. Both Cartier Martin and Shelvin Mack were in a similar circumstance to what second-year power forward Mike Scott was facing entering this season, and like the duo before him, Scott exceeded expectations throughout the 2013-2014 campaign.
First, we'll tackle the positives with Scott, and that (quite obviously) begins with his shot-making capabilities. The 25-year-old Scott averaged "only" 9.6 points per game, but if you remember that he played only 18.5 minutes per contest (18.6 points per 36 minutes), things look much brighter. In addition, Scott compiled a 55.9% true shooting, which trailed only Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll and Elton Brand on Atlanta's roster this season, and that included a less than desirable 31% clip on 3-point field goals.
Mike Scott is certainly a "chucker" in that he averaged more than 15 shot attempts per 36 minutes as a role player, but in Mike Budenholzer's offense, that is certainly what he was asked to do. There is probably some growth in his 31% 3-point shooting clip that could be attained with more attempts and better shot selection, but Scott has proven that he can score in the NBA.
On the glass, Scott took a step back this season, but it should come with an asterisk. In very limited time as a rookie, he averaged 10.5 rebounds per 36 minutes, but that number dipped below 7 per 36 this season, mostly as a result of his perimeter-oriented play with his offensive rebound percentage dipping from more than 12% to less than 5% this season. He will probably never be a dominant rebounder for a power forward, but he can hold his own on the glass when called upon.
Defensively, it is fair to say that Scott remains below average, but there was still some improvement there. He was asked to play out of position at times as a result of Atlanta's roster structure, but his on-ball defense visibly improved, and the areas in which he needs to make strives are mostly in team-oriented concepts like rotations and help defense. To be fair, he was the worst defender in the front-court on Atlanta's roster this season, but expectations were low and he likely met or exceeded them when compared to his rookie campaign.
The Hawks have a very interesting decision on Scott (much like they do on Shelvin Mack) in that he is a restricted free agent that is due a qualifying offer of just over $1.1 million. I would expect Scott to decline that offer if and when it comes, and it will largely depend on what he can command on the open market as to whether he'll return to Atlanta. At this point, Scott is clearly a bench option that is best suited in a "heat check" role, but with the Hawks bringing back Paul Millsap in addition to likely signing and/or drafting a player at a similar spot, there aren't any guarantees.