It makes sense that, at the age of 27 and in his fourth NBA season, Mike Scott would put together the best year of his professional career. At the same time, most people didn't see this coming.
Scott was embroiled in an off-season "scandal" of sorts, in that he was addressed and presented with felony drug charges stemming from an incident in his car in late July. At the time of this post, the case is still outstanding and, frankly, there hasn't been a tremendous amount of information about his legal status in recent months. However, the incident came at an inopportune time for Scott, and there was even some question about whether the Hawks would attempt to move on from their backup power forward via trade or, potentially, outright release.
From a basketball standpoint, the decision to hang on to Scott paid off for Mike Budenholzer and company.
Though he actually played fewer minutes on a per-game basis (15.3 down from 16.5 in 2014-2015), Scott's play improved across the board to the point where he was a valuable reserve contributor. The biggest jump from the former Virginia forward came in the department of efficiency, where he attempted fewer shots (11.8 per 36 minutes after 14+ in each of his first three seasons) and made significantly more of those attempts.
Scott posted career-bests in three-point percentage (39.2%), effective field goal percentage (55.1%) and true shooting percentage (57.5%), and while he still isn't shy about getting shots up, the 27-year-old was more discerning in year four. The biggest development comes in the form of his long-distance shooting, where his previous effectiveness was vastly overrated. Scott's development into a legitimately above-average three-point shooter was huge this season, and if he can prove that it wasn't a fluke but rather a positive trend, his value shoots up a great deal.
On the defensive end, Mike Scott remains a below-average player. However, he certainly made strides this season, and they must be noted. His attentiveness greatly improved, especially when it comes to off-ball concepts and working within a team-wide scheme, and Scott also appeared quicker and more nimble when it came to presenting quality contests on the perimeter. There is no question that his lack of size and (relative) strength will always be an issue when it comes to defending in the post, but Scott actually trying on the defensive end went a long way in 2015-2016, to the point where Atlanta was able to be dominant (95.3 points allowed per 100 possessions) with him on the floor as a part of the bench mob.
Given his age, it is probably safe to assume that Scott won't be much better than he was this season, but if he can simply replicate this level of production, there is a place for him in an NBA rotation. In terms of his immediate future in Atlanta, the Hawks hold a team option for Scott in the amount of $3.33 million, and if he is cleared of legal trouble, that would be a bargain in today's salary cap environment.
Scott is a flawed player in many ways, but given his propensity for offensive explosions and the development of what appears to be a consistent long-range jumper, he is also a potentially useful player.