When Al Horford went down with a season-ending torn pectoral injury a number of players needed to take their games to the next level in order to make up for the production he provided on the court for the Atlanta Hawks. I believed it would be some of the veteran players such as Lou Williams and Elton Brand to pick the production lost on both offense and defense, but so far those two have produced inconsistent results. Instead, it’s been the play of two surprising players who have elevated their games to fill the void left by Horford. One of those players is Pero Antic, who impressed coach Mike Budenholzer so much in the first couple of games without Horford that he earned himself the starting center job. The other surprising player who has been a critical piece to filling the needs left by the injured All-Star center has been Mike Scott.
The second year forward out of the University of Virginia showed some promise on the offensive end in limited minutes early in the season when Horford was healthy. Now that Horford is hurt and out for the year, Scott has taken full advantage of his new role with the Hawks as one of the first players off the bench in order to provide Atlanta with a great offensive threat. He provides the Hawks with another taller forward who has the ability to score from all over the floor, including three-point land which he has done very effectively so far. In the past five games, his production on the offensive end of the court has been a big reason as to why Atlanta not only competes in every game but has also been able to win a couple of games in this stretch. Coming off the bench, Scott averaged 11.2 points per game in the last five games, and in the huge win over the Indiana Pacers last night he contributed 15 big points in order to secure the victory.
His performances off the bench for the Hawks will be a vital piece to Atlanta’s success going forward. If the Hawks wish to make the NBA Playoffs in the East, Scott has to provide the Hawks with a spark on the offensive end by continuing to hit the three-ball in order to stretch the defense and also become a little better on the glass rebounding the ball. If he does both of those things, I see no reason why Atlanta cannot hold on to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference for the rest of the season.