Mike Scott Falling Out of Bud’s Rotation?

Atlanta Hawks PF Mike Scott could not have gotten injured at a more inopportune time for the Hawks last season.  Scott had a big toe ailment that he suffered in Denver on March 11th that kept him out of the next 11 games for the first place Atlanta Hawks.  By the time he got back on to the Hawks’ bench, he began losing more and more minutes in the front court rotation.

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Second-year PF/C Mike Muscala thrived in Scott’s absence and began pushing his way into the primary front court rotation with Pero Antic, Al Horford, and Paul Millsap.  Mike Scott suddenly lost his proclivity for clutch outside shooting upon returning to action.  Given that Scott has never been a great rebounder and isn’t as efficient from the outside as he once was, is Mike Scott falling out of Head Coach Mike Budenholzer’s rotation?

Going into 2015-16, I see Mike Scott as either the fifth, possibly sixth big man coming off Bud’s bench.  Horford and Millsap obviously start.  You would expect newcomer C Tiago Splitter to play ample minutes in a system he’s already familiar with given his previous playing time with Coach Bud.  Mike Muscala continues to progress with every minute of NBA court time he plays.  And you have to believe that the Atlanta coaching staff will want to give 7’3” rookie C Walter Tavares plenty of learning opportunities in his rookie season in Atlanta.

To me, I still kind of question if Scott is a good fit in Budenholzer’s system.  I’m okay with guys that zag when others zig in the rotation, since both PG Dennis Schroder and SG/SF Kent Bazemore‘s style of play nicely complement Bud’s system.  I love his athleticism on the offense end, with highlight reel dunks and long-range three-point field goals.  But he’s been a sub-par defender in his three years of NBA service (a Career -2.4 DBPM with Atlanta).

His inability to collect boards (2.4 RPG in his career) definitely puts his team at a disadvantage defensively when he’s on the floor.  He really is a quintessential stretch four in this era of the NBA, but a better offensive than defensive player.

But where Scott really lost his place in the Atlanta Hawks’ rotation was in last year’s playoffs.  His plus/minus in the 2015 Playoffs was -16.4 when he was on the floor. After an underwhelming first round series with the Brooklyn Nets, Mike Scott received 4 DNP’s in the second round series with the Washington Wizards.  Though he did play in 3 of the 4 games in the ECF against the Cleveland Cavaliers, you could feel that Coach Bud was starting to favor Muscala over Scott in the rotation.

If Scott can enter 2015-16 healthy, get back to making his patented long-range shots, and improve defensively, then Mike can get back into the first 5 coming off the Atlanta Hawks’ bench.  But should he not do all three of these things, he might end up getting Elton Brand type minutes for the Hawks in 2016.