Chris Graham: Mike Scott in the NBA

The big question – how will the second-round pick of the Atlanta Hawks from the University of Virginia fare in the NBA?

The answer could be forthcoming soon, as Mike Scott, a first-team all-ACC selection as a senior, begins play in the NBA summer league next week. The 6’8″, 240-pounder is a classic tweener – whose game in college was more suited to the post, but whose size probably makes him more of a small forward in the NBA.

As much as it’s correct to say that Scott is more suited to playing in the post on offense, he showed early and often in his UVa. career that he could be very effective on the perimeter. An 83 percent foul shooter in his final two seasons in Charlottesville, Scott also knocked down 36.3 percent of his three-point attempts in ihs career, though his attempts were limited (44 in parts of five seasons at Virginia) because he played so much in the paint.

His shooting range was made more effective by the fact that he could establish himself in the post early on and create more open looks from post defenders. Which is to say, Scott isn’t the type of guy who can catch a pass on the perimeter and consistently beat defenders off the dribble to the rim.

That all said, Scott is an NBA talent on offense. It’s on the other side of the floor that the biggest questions remain. At 6’8″, 240, it’s hard to imagine Scott being able to guard fours and fives in the NBA; it’s equally hard to imagine him getting out on the perimeter and guarding NBA threes

He did play for a defense-first coach in college (Tony Bennett), which should be a plus. He knows what it means to have to step it up on D to get on the floor and stay on the floor. Remember, playing time wasn’t a given for Scott or anybody else when Bennett took over in Charlottesville three years ago. He had to earn his minutes as much as anybody else, and was on the court more than 32 minutes a game the past two seasons for Bennett.

If he gets any PT in the NBA will depend upon his ability to step up his game on the defensive end – on the perimeter, in the post, probably both places.

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