Hawks Season In Review: Mike Scott
Lucas Armstrong/Atlanta Hawks
Note: We use stats per 36 minutes instead of stats per game on the graphics. The reason behind that is stats per 36 tell a more complete story of how a player did while he was on the court, as opposed to per game stats which averages a player’s stats based on the number of games that player appeared in, regardless of how many minutes he played. The per 36 minutes compares all players equally by taking the minutes played out of the equation to measure the most effective players during their time on the court.
Perhaps no player on the Hawks took a bigger step forward this season than second-year man Mike Scott. After playing just 9.4 minutes per game in 40 games last season, Scott averaged 18.5 minutes per in his 80 games played this season. Scott averaged 9.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game for the season on 47.9 percent shooting (31% from three-point range), and took on a crucial role late in the season and in the playoffs.
Scott said on multiple occasions that his focus during the offseason was on improving his conditioning and expanding his range. He excelled in both areas as he got himself in terrific shape and became a legitimate three-point threat. After the Al Horford injury — and with the combination of injuries to the rest of the frontcourt — Scott got an opportunity to become a key role-player for the Hawks, and he took full advantage of those opportunities.
In 13 consecutive games from Jan. 8 – Feb. 5, Scott scored in double-digits. In that stretch, Scott averaged 14.3 points per game on 59.4 percent shooting (40.5% from three). Scott’s offensive production was crucial for the Hawks with Horford out, as they were in desperate need of a consistent scoring threat from the collection of bench bigs.
Scott’s best performance of the season came against the Knicks on Feb. 22 as he scored a career-high 30 points with eight rebounds to help the Hawks snap an eight-game losing streak. Scott was 6-for-7 from the three-point line in that game in an incredible shooting performance.
Scott went through a rough shooting stretch to close the season for the Hawks, making multiple three-pointers just once in the final 24 games of the season, but he remained confident and in Game 5 of the Hawks’ first round series, Scott lit the Pacers up for 17 points on 6-of-6 shooting (5-of-5 from three), all in the second quarter. The victory gave the Hawks a 3-2 series lead, and Scott was the biggest factor in that win.
On defense, Scott made strides with his movement and ability to stay in front of quicker perimeter players — again a focus of his during the last offseason. Per Synergy Sports, Scott was effective defensively in isolation situations, allowing just 0.76 points per possession on 33.9 percent shooting — good for 88th in the NBA. Scott still has opportunities to improve on defense by continuing to improve his footwork and strength in the paint, but he took strides in the right direction this season on that side of the ball as well.
Scott proved this season that he has the ability to produce at a high level offensively and can be a threat from the three-point range, mid-range, and in the post — where he improved a great deal this year shooting 53.8% on post-ups for 0.97 PPP, good for 27th in the NBA. He also showed that his best basketball is still ahead of him by continuing to improve all season, particularly in being tighter with the details of being a big man — like rotations, positioning, and rebounding.
Scott’s season was definitely one of the bright spots for the Hawks this season, as he took a big leap forward and showed that he has a bright future.