Guard Shelvin Mack deserves to be back with the Atlanta Hawks next season after the performances he turned in this year. The Butler point guard was not expected to do too much entering the 2013-14 campaign, but man, did he turn out to be a pleasant surpise as the backup point guard to Jeff Teague.
Heading into the season, coach Mike Budenholzer thought his first-round draft pick Dennis Schroder was going to play the role of Teague’s backup point guard. However, after a shaky start to the year and some questionable decisions while leading the second unit, coach Bud needed to look elsewhere. Luckily for him, he had a capable player in Mack on the bench. The 24-year-old earned his way on to the team the year before by impressing the previous coaching staff on his first 10-day contract.
Therefore, GM Danny Ferry decided to give him another chance and it paid off in a big way. Mack became an excellent addition off the bench. He could not only run the show as the backup point guard, but he also proved capable of generating some timely offense as a role player for coach Budenholzer. In fact, at numerous times throughout the course of the year, Mack and Teague were on the court at the same time. He wasn’t on the floor just because of his ball-handling either, it was his three-point shoooting that coach Bud liked as well.
Mack shot a solid 33.7 percent from beyond the arc this year and was never shy about taking a three if he saw an opening. Coach Bud seemed to enjoy his aggressiveness too. The Butler product had a number of big games this year, including a game-changing effort in Game 5 of the 2014 NBA Playoffs against the Indiana Pacers. He scored an impressive 20 points and dished out five assists to help the Hawks steal Game 5 in the Pacers’ own building. In my opinion, that performance alone should earn him a spot on next year’s roster.
However, it will be interesting to see what Ferry decides to do. I personally think it’s a no-brainer to bring back Mack, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Ferry wanted to see more playing time for Schroder. Hopefully, for Mack and the Hawks’ sake they don’t let him go. Give the point guard another season to develop his game after averaging 7.5 points and 3.7 assists per game this season; and he could turn out to be one of the best backup point guards in the league.