Mike Scott still has things to learn about the NBA game. The Hawks have provided an abundance of teachers.
Entering his second season, Scott has the tutelage of Al Horford, Paul Millsap and Elton Brand to hone his skills at the power forward position.
“I’m ready to learn,” Scott said last week from the Las Vegas Summer League.
It’s too early to look at the roster and see where he might fit in. However, with Horford currently slated to start at center and Brand as the primary backup, there are minutes available at power forward behind Millsap. Scott, a second-round draft pick from Virginia, saw limited action as a rookie, appearing in 40 games and averaging 4.6 points and 2.8 rebounds in 9.4 minutes. He had a career-best game against the Knicks on April 17, the final game of the regular season, with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
The Hawks sent Scott to the NBA Development twice to get playing time and he proved dominant against that level of competition. In seven games, he averaged 18.1 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Bakersfield (Calif.) Jam.
Scott, 6-foot-8, 237 pounds, has also proven a force for the Hawks in the summer league. He led the team in scoring at 18.6 points per game, good for seventh in the tournament. He added 6.2 rebounds in 27.4 minutes. Scott made 30-of-65 shots from the field (.462) and made 31 of 34 free throws.
“I’m just trying to become more versatile, working on my defense and guarding quicker players, working on my range, working on by dribble,” Scott said. “I’m just trying to get better.”
As he works on his game, Scott is not a cinch to make the Hawks roster. He has a non-guaranteed contract and, along with the rest of the Hawks, is learning the offense and defense being installed by new head coach Mike Budenholzer. John Jenkins, Shelvin Mack and Scott, last season’s holdovers at summer league, got the first glimpse of the Hawks’ future.
“I think they obviously feel more confident and comfortable overall,” general manager Danny Ferry said last week. “It’s also a situation where they are learning a whole new offense and a way we want to play. We have no corporate knowledge at this point. As they learn the way we want to play and the principles with which we want to play, they will get better and better.”
Scott, who turned 25 last week, said he has stayed in the gym much of the offseason working on his game. He looks forward to joining new Hawks Millsap and Brand to continue his education.
Ferry has said several times this offseason that the key to developing the young players is opportunity. As far as his role with the Hawks next season, Scott is hoping for that chance.
“The same as last year but maybe turned up, as we say,” Scott said of his role. “A little bit more minutes, trying to come in (and) bring some energy, score points, run, defend, rebound.”