The Atlanta Hawks went into the 2013 NBA preseason and the 2013-14 regular season with a number of options that they could insert into their frontcourt. The team’s centerpiece, Al Horford, is obviously still in tow, as was highly touted power forward Paul Millsap who the Hawks signed to one of the best deals of the off-season in free agency.
More interesting coming into the year, though was their frontcourt reserves. Looking to stay deep in that area, the Hawks signed Gustavo Ayon, Elton Brand and Macedonia product Pero Antic to help fill up their bench. Through 13 games this season, though, it now seems that second-year forward Mike Scott is getting a lot more looks in the frontcourt.
Scott wasn’t great in his rookie year with Atlanta, appearing in just 40 games and averaging just 9.4 minutes per game. However, he put in the work this summer to improve his body to become more versatile and the results showed in Summer League and in the preseason. Now that the regular season is underway as well, Scott has proven himself to be as valuable, if not more valuable, than some of the Hawks’ new additions.
While Ayon is just now returning from injury and has looked like a solid addition to the Hawks’ reserves, Scott has clearly outshined the veteran Brand and NBA-newcomer Antic. In the 11 games prior to Friday night, Scott was averaging 8.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game on solid 48 percent shooting in 14.9 minutes per game.
He followed up a solid start to this season by remaining steady in the Hawks win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night, notching nine points and four rebounds in 14 minutes off of the bench.
What’s been clear about Scott early on is that him working on improving his body has greatly helped his game on both ends of the floor. He’s able to keep up with quicker big men while also remaining strong against big guys on defense and has used his newfound athleticism to compliment his nice array of offensive skills.
I wouldn’t expect to see Scot on any All-Star teams at any point in his career, but I also believe he’s a player that looks like he could hang around the league for quite a while. If he can maintain the physical condition that he’s in right now, there’s no reason that Scott can’t continue what he’s done for Atlanta early in this season over the course of a long career.