Ahead of the 2021-22 NBA season, Peachtree Hoops is taking a look at the Atlanta Hawks roster and what each player may contribute. Today, we glance at second-year guard Skylar Mays.
Following the 2020 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks signed Skylar Mays, a four-year guard out of LSU, to a Two-Way contract after selecting him with the No. 50 overall pick. Mays excelled as a backcourt player throughout his SEC career, but didn’t garner a lot of attention early on draft night due to his age and a lack of explosiveness to his game. Mays however spent his rookie season proving he has other skills that can be valuable to an NBA team.
While he was mostly just depth, and only played as much as he did because of a slew of Hawks injuries, Mays provided competitiveness and poise in the backcourt when called upon. Across 33 games with Atlanta, Mays shot 35% from three-point range, and 51.7% on two-point field goals. He had 56.9% true shooting, and spent 64% of his time at shooting guard per Basketball-Reference. He spent 33% of his time on the court at point guard for the Hawks.
He showed even more a few weeks ago at the Las Vegas Summer League, an event he obviously did not get a chance to play in due to the pandemic after the Hawks signed him in 2020. This Summer, Mays and Sharife Cooper were the lead ball-handlers, and Mays was able to show his ability as a scorer in that setting. He was able to not only knock down shots but also get to the rim with some efficacy. Summer League stats are not a wise thing to put a ton of stock in, but he was a productive player, and looked “too good to be playing Summer League” at times, which is what you want to see from a second-year player.
Mays signed another Two-Way deal with the Hawks for the 2021-22 season, and should provide depth again on the bench this season for Atlanta. He may also spend time in the G League with the College Park Skyhawks, as he played just 269 minutes on a injury-plagued Hawks team last season. Ideally, the team will be more healthy in 2021-22 and thus need to call on Mays less often on the ‘big league’ roster. Still, it is valuable to have quality depth and quality character guys like Mays in the locker room, and he’s still an improving young player so he may have an opportunity to break into the rotation if a hole cracks open for whatever reason.
Conservatively, it would nice to see the 24-year old get 500 minutes for Atlanta this season. It is true there’s perhaps less opportunity for a consistent role on the team this year with Lou Williams back, the acquisition of Delon Wright and ideally a more healthy trio of Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish. However, the NBA is back to being a 82-game marathon for 2021-22, and a team can never have enough able bodies coming off of a deep playoff run.