Hawks Season In Review: Shelvin Mack

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.

After bouncing around between three NBA teams and a D-League team in his first two seasons in the league, Shelvin Mack established himself this past season with a breakout performance as the primary backup point guard for the Hawks behind Jeff Teague. Mack averaged 7.5 points, 3.7 assists, 2.2 rebounds, and 0.7 steals per game in 20.4 minutes per game in 73 appearances this season.

Entering training camp, Mack was thought to be the third point guard behind rookie Dennis Schröder, but he asserted himself and earned the backup role early in the season. Mack, like Mike Scott, was terrific early in the season and prior to the All-Star break was shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from three-point range. After the All-Star break, Mack — like the team as a whole — went through a bit of a slump with his efficiency, shooting just 39.9 percent from the field and 30.3 percent from three-point range. With all of the Hawks’ injuries, Mack — and the team — had to adjust to playing with totally different lineups and rotations, which clearly effected their offensive output and efficiency.

Even so, Mack put together a very impressive 2013-14 campaign. He orchestrated the Hawks’ offense very well, facilitating as the primary ball-handler when needed and also limited his turnovers at just 1.2 per game. On defense, he made strides as an on-ball defender and did very well against isolation play, allowing just 0.77 points per possession on 39.6 percent shooting against isolation, per Synergy Sports.

When needed, Mack showed the ability to step up and make big shots and played well against the Pacers in the playoffs. In that first round series, Mack averaged 8.1 points and 3.6 assists with just 0.9 turnovers in 16.9 minutes per game. Mack had a terrific performance in Game 5 in Indiana, when he scored 20 points on 5-of-9 shooting –13 in the second quarter — to, along with Mike Scott’s effort, lead the Hawks to a big road victory.

Mack’s emergence was certainly a highlight of the Hawks season, and was emblematic of the success of the Hawks coaching staff this season with player development and the commitment of the Hawks’ players to step up all year.