Bouncing back from a quiet couple seasons in the NBA, Mike Scott has been a force playing closer to home for the Washington Wizards.
In his last 7 games, Scott has shot 42 for 57 (74%) from the field - 11 for 21 (52%) from behind the arc and 31 for 36 (86%) on 2s. His playing time has steadily increased throughout that stretch, as he played a season high 33 minutes (and started the second half in place of the banged up starting PF Markieff Morris) in last night’s 106-99 loss to the Cavaliers. Scott’s season averages are now up to 9.3 points and 19 minutes per game, with a gaudy 64.2% eFG%, which would be good for 4th in the NBA if he weren’t 7 made shots off qualifying pace.
Here are highlights from his 22-point performance from Friday night against the Clippers:
And his 19 points last night, the first 8 coming over a helpless LeBron James:
Scott is scoring just like he did at UVA - with mind-boggling efficiency and from everywhere on the court - including a constantly improving 3-point shot as well. Here’s ESPN’s shot chart from a different 22 point performance against the Clippers earlier this month:
Additionally, Scott has made major improvements on the defensive side of the ball. Earlier in his career, he struggled physically to match-up with either larger centers or quicker small forwards, leading to mismatches and fouls. However, he has steadily improved into an above-average defender. In fact, he is pretty good! Check it out:
Mike Scott doesn't just provide a scoring punch off the bench. Nice defense here on Kevin Love. He was all over him. pic.twitter.com/pSwA8I1EFM— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) December 17, 2017
Scott has had a bit of a roller coaster career during his six seasons in the NBA. After being drafted by the Hawks, he had a breakout sophomore season during which he averaged 10 ppg and saw significant run in late-game situations during their playoff run. But his production and playing time fell off in the three subsequent seasons, and he was especially hobbled with ankle and knee issues last season. Additionally, he faced drug charges stemming from an incident during the 2015 offseason, which were eventually dismissed based on strong evidence of racial profiling. (“In my 35 years of practicing law, this could be the worst case of racial profiling I have ever seen,” Scott’s attorney commented after the case.)
Healthy, refocused, and 30 pounds lighter(!!), Scott signed a $1.4 million one-year contract (the veteran’s minimum) with the Wizards and has put things together nicely thus far. Is his current run sustainable? For mere mortals, maybe not. But for someone who singlehandedly carried Virginia to the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and filled an ESPN comment section with things like "God created the world in 6 days; 5 were spent perfecting Mike Scott"...it doesn’t seem so far-fetched.