After last week’s lottery and this week’s draft combine; next week I plan on updating my opinions on MKG, Harrison Barnes and other players where my prior profiles have gotten stale. I discussed these prospects in mid-December (noted that MKG may end up the second best player from the draft class) and early January (compared Barnes to 2010 – 2011 Danny Granger). By the end of this week, a lot of additional information is available since January 5th, so time to give another look.
Today though, a player that only rates as significant to me steps up. ESPN ranks Mike Scott at 49th and draftexpress places him 56th.
Scott finished his senior year at Virginia and due to a season of medical red-shirting turns 24 shortly after draft day. Aided by four years of additional experience compared to some players, he shared first-team ACC honors with four potential lottery picks. At 6’ – 8”, his height is non-ideal for an NBA power forward, but his 237 pound frame and physical style-of-play provides the necessary tools to bang with the big boys. This season, he averaged 18 points and 8 rebounds; deceptive numbers due to Scott playing only 31 minutes and Virginia playing at the NCAA’s 11th slowest pace (of 344 teams). Per forty minutes, pace adjusted, his scoring ranks second and his rebounding twelfth for all likely drafted NCAA players in 2012. With true shooting of 62 and offensive rating and usage of 115 and 30, his efficiency excelled last season. Virginia relied on Scott to generate offense from the post and facing up, where his range out to eighteen feet proves beneficial. His height somewhat limits him, but he finishes effectively around the basket, although back-to-the-basket scores will be much tougher to come by in the NBA. While not a shot blocker, his strength allows him to man-up on the block, and he routinely plays hard at this end of the court. His defensive rebounding percentage ranked 3rd in the ACC and 41st in NCAA, and Virginia’s defense finished with the sixth-best schedule adjusted rating in Division One.
Game Recap: In Virginia’s ACC tourney defeat against NC State, Scott scored 23 points alongside 10 rebounds. The scoring came inefficiently on 23 field goal attempts as he struggled with his jumper; often forcing contested looks, whether facing up, off-screens, or the catch-and-shoot variety. Much of his damage occurred in the post, where he scored 10 points in 10 plays. He used a variety of moves; scoring on drop-steps, hop-steps, and turnarounds, while missing lefty and righty hooks. These myriad moves are surely a product of five years in college. Rolling off a pick appeared as an area he was less expert, resulting in a few poorly spaced plays. Solid on defense, he primarily guarded Richard Howell, currently draftexpress’s #32 pick in 2013, and held him to 10 points and 4 rebounds. Howell and CJ Leslie (#9 in 2013) both scored in the paint against Scott, but generally he showed nice skills and effort; hedging well on pick-and-rolls, fighting through screens, and displaying box-out fundamentals & a low perimeter stance.
Despite the less than perfect game, Scott’s NBA team will never request this much shooting. He should be very capable of performing the tasks he will be asked to: convert the shots his guards create for him from 17 feet and in, hold his own on defense, and rebound.
Summary: Perhaps Cleveland swings a trade with Orlando: #24 and #34 for #19 and #49. Then the Cavs draft Bradley Beal at #4, Moe Harkless at #19, Festus Ezeli at #33 and Mike Scott with #49. To me, that would be awesome. A great blend of size, athleticism, skill, and experience.
For a rookie, Scott brings a certain “veteran” presence. If by chance Cleveland adds four rookies, making two of them Seniors seems like a priority to me. Scott’s efficiency, toughness and jump shooting strike me as skills that will make him a valuable second-string player.
In the 2012 draft, ideally the Cavs snag a future all-star, a starter, and a guy that makes you think, “he looks like an NBA player.” Mike Scott can be that last guy. Lavoy Allen was selected 50th last year by Philadelphia, then posted what I rated as the 10th best rookie season from his draft class, before knocking-out a 17 PER in twelve playoff games. I envision Mike Scott making similar impacts with the team that selects him.