The Atlanta Hawks signed Shelvin Mack to a 10-day contract last year and have not looked back since. Mack has taken full advantage of his opportunity with the Hawks. Since coming to Atlanta, Mack has been exactly what the Hawks were looking for off the bench. Mack gives the Hawks a capable backup point guard who can run the offense at a very efficient level.
Mack has a number of tools that are very similar to the man he plays behind, Jeff Teague. Much like Teague, he can shoot from the three-point line and drive to the hole. When a player such as Mack has these skills, this makes the offense run a lot smoother. The threat to shoot from outside keeps the defense on its toes and forces the defense to account for Mack at all times. His ability to take it to the hole makes him that much harder to contain on defense as well. The combination of these skills opens up the offense for the Hawks by creating space. This spacing creates more opportunities for Mack’s teammates to get open shots and be more productive.
Where Mack is underrated is his ability to distribute the ball. He has a quick first step that allows him to get by his defender and drive into the lane. This causes another defender to have to step up and defend Mack, opening up the passing lanes for him to be able to distribute the ball. Just look at Mack’s numbers so far this year. In limited minutes, he is averaging 6.1 points and 3.1 assists per game. These numbers don’t jump off the page, but for a backup, those are solid numbers. Averaging 3.1 assists per game off the bench is huge, and the Hawks will need him to continue this kind of production in order to be successful.
People underestimate the importance of a deep bench in the NBA. With players such as Mack, Lou Williams and Cartier Martin coming off the bench, the Hawks have a good one. If the starters hold up their end of the bargain and the bench continues to shine, Atlanta will find themselves in the playoffs.