This year’s NBA draft, which took place on June 28th, was one of the deepest drafts we’ve had in quite some time. There wasn’t any debate about who would be selected first overall, which is usually the case, as Anthony Davis was selected first to the New Orleans Hornets. Other than Davis, however, the NBA draft this year had a lot of twists and turns and many players landed places none of us could have imagined they would land.
The draft has always been very interesting, due to the fact that you can never pre assume how good of a NBA player someone will turn out to be. Yes, they all have potential, and yes, they all have the ability to be pretty good professionals if they were worthy enough to be drafted. The biggest question is, however, will they live up to the hype once those lights are shining down on the court and all the attention is suddenly on the rookie?
Well they all seem to be very humble going into their first season, from Anthony Davis who was drafted number one, all the way down to the 60th and final pick. However the first rounders, lottery picks in particular, are always going to have the added pressure to live up to the hype. Not so much for the second rounders, who sort of have the advantage of finding a way to fit in and be solid contributors for their team. That is, of course, if they are able to make the final 12 man roster.
I had a chance to sit down and chat with one of those second round draftees, former University of Virginia graduate Mike Scott. Scott was drafted with the number 43 selection in the 2012 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks.
Just in case you’re not aware, here is a little background of Mike Scott.
Scott is a 6’8, 237 pound power forward from Chesapeake, Virginia. He played three years at Deep Creek high school in Chesapeake and also one post-grad year at Hargrave Military Academy. Scott was very dominate throughout his high school career, which I witnessed first hand being from the area and playing alongside him at Deep Creek. From there Scott moved on to UVA (University of Virginia) and started his path towards the dream of one day playing in the NBA. He spent five total years at UVA, had a stellar senior season, and eventually was drafted by the Hawks this summer.
When first speaking with Scott I couldn’t help but ask him the obvious, how does it feel to be considered a NBA player nowadays? He replied saying, “It feels real good, I’m a very humble person and I’m not always satisfied.” He also went on to say, “All the hard work paid off, I had to become a more mature individual to help out my basketball game.”
Earlier I stated that Scott had a stellar senior season at UVA. Well, he did. He led them to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007, the year before he first arrived. Scott also averaged 18 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game in his senior year while also being runner-up for the ACC player of the year behind Tyler Zeller. Pretty impressive.
I asked Mike what would be the biggest transition that he’ll have to make coming from the college game to the NBA, he replied by stating, ” Learning all the defensive strategies and the rules, I think in summer league I had a few defensive three seconds calls on me, however everything else should be fine.” Scott, playing PF/C in college will have to learn that camping out in the paint isn’t something he’ll be able to do at the professional level, however that’s something all rookies have to learn.
Like most rookies Scott invited friends and family over to watch the draft with him at his home. When asking Scott about the draft, I asked him did he start to get somewhat nervous that he wouldn’t be drafted? He replied, “Going into the draft, I thought I would be drafted a little bit higher, didn’t go as expected” he also said, “I stayed faithful, kept praying, and it finally happened.” I asked if he thought that he was better than some of the players drafted ahead of him and he said, “Oh yes, definitely. Sometimes it comes down to politics, sometimes it comes down to potential, and I’ll just have to prove myself this year.” Mike went on to say that he feels that he deserved to be a late first rounder or early second rounder at worst.
I asked Mike how does it feel to be one of the few from the Chesapeake area (Deep Creek high school) who has actually made it to the NBA, he stated, “It feels real good, only a few come from this area. Alonzo Mourning is one other person who came from the city to make it to the NBA. I just came so far, it was a lot of hard work.” Scott said while smirking, “You remember playing back in high school, being a little scrawny kid and just worrying about getting in, just had to mature a lot and I’m happy that I’m here.” I also asked Mike did he ever think back then in high school this day would come? He said, “I think I wanted it to come, but I don’t think I knew what it took to get here. I definitely didn’t have the work ethic and the seriousness back then.”
This is definitely a dream come true for the 6’8 power forward. Scott stated that he never believed that he would be in the NBA until late in his college career, his senior year at that. Scott was injured in his senior year, and played only 10 games because of it. He said he took that year to mature. “I wrote it down with one of my friends, Rob Hill (author), over the summer that I would get to this dream, I had a real good fifth year, senior year, and I was drafted.”
Scott seemed to be very optimistic about being drafted to the Atlanta Hawks. He stated that he was definitely satisfied by being drafted by the Hawks. “Atlanta is a great city, I played against Georgia Tech every year in college and had a chance to play there a few times.” He also somewhat went into depth about the Hawks future, stating that they’ve lost Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams and they’re starting fresh. “We’re young, athletic, right now we have a lot of new different players, still have Al Horford, Jeff Teague, and Josh Smith. I think if I just play hard in practice, hopefully I can get some time out there. Being a rookie I’m not really worried bout the playing time right now, I just want to fit in with the team and go from there. I’ll let my game speak for itself.”
I was bold enough to ask Mike, the second round draft pick, does he feel as if he can be a starter within five years? Mike stated, “I definitely think so, if not a starter in five years then hopefully I can have a big time role coming off the bench, maybe like a James Harden role. If I can just keep improving each year, I’ll see that time come.”
Scott definitely has the ability to be a constant contributor in the NBA. He is a versatile power forward, who can not only bang inside with the big fellows, but also step out and knock down the mid-range jumper. He also showed in college that he could extend his range to the three-point line as well. I think Scott’s game is similar to that of Chris Bosh in a sense. He will be a great fit for the Atlanta Hawks, being that they aren’t the deepest of teams in the front-court. He should have many opportunities to show what he’s made of.
There has been many second round picks that has excelled in the NBA once their number was called, will Mike Scott be next in line? That we will see soon.