Atlanta Hawks report card: Shelvin Mack


The Atlanta Hawks were ousted in the first round by the top-seeded Indiana Pacers. After a fascinating seven-round battle with the top seed, there have been arguments back and forth on whether it was a successful 2013-2014 campaign for the Atlanta Hawks; some say they had overachieved, some say they underachieved. Over the next couple weeks, we will break down the Hawks season and we will dish out grades for each of the Hawks players. Who played well, who was a disappointment, who will be back next year? We will dish out everything you want to hear about the Hawks past season, and what is to come ahead.

First, some quick requirements. We will only feature players that played in at least 10 games with the Hawks this season, so sorry Jeremy Tyler, James Nunnally, and Antawn Jamison; you were all part of the exciting journey in some capacity, but that is all the pub you will get in our season recaps.

Being evaluated today is point guard Shelvin Mack.

Shelvin Mack was fighting for his chance to make the Hawks roster in the preseason. The Hawks seemingly decided to roll with Mack over Royal Ivey in the preseason, and the former Butler guard looked to be the 12th or 13th man on the Hawks roster and possibly the last player to make the entire team. However, with Lou Williams working his way back from ACL surgery, and Dennis Schroder showing that he might not be quite ready to produce at the highest level, Mack earned the most playing time of his career.

Shining Moment: Perhaps Mack’s best two games came in Hawks defeats, so that’s depressing, but let’s talk about them anyway! On January 16th, Mack had 17 points and seven assists on 6-9 shooting from the field, but the Hawks lost by 17 to the Nets. On February 21st, Mack scored a career-high 21 points in a career-high 38 minutes played. Mack also tossed in four points and six assists in an 8-point loss to the Pistons. On a more positive note, Mack had 12 points on 5-8 shooting and a career high 12 assists in a 20-point victory of the New York Knicks on November 16th.

Letter Grade: B- Simply put, Mack received the most minutes of his NBA career and he made the most of them. Mack broke out this season and posted career highs in nearly every category with 7.5 points per game, 3.7 assists per game, 2.2 rebounds per game and 2.3 win shares, which all destroyed his previous career bests. Mack also posted a career low where it counted, as his turnover percentage went down to 14.3%.  Mack’s ability to fill in admirably when Jeff Teague missed some games with an ankle injury, and also play alongside him when they were both healthy, was a huge addition to the Hawks offense and quite frankly, an unexpected one.

2014-2015 season outlook: Mack is a free agent and you would probably hope that Dennis Schroder is ready to take more of the rains, and fill in behind Teague, but Mack could be a good insurance policy depending on how confident the Hawks are in Schroder. Mack seems to have good favor with coach Mike Budenholzer, and for the right price, I am sure the Hawks would like to bring him back. If Mack does hit the free agent market, you would absolutely expect him to catch on as a versatile, back-up point guard somewhere.