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2018-19 Clippers Exit Interviews: Mike Scott

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Mike Scott was a perfectly serviceable backup big, but when the Clippers had a chance to move him, they cashed out.

Los Angeles Clippers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

General Information:

Name: Mike Scott

Age: 30

Years in NBA: 7

Position: Forward/Center

Key Stats: In 14.4 minutes per game, averaged 4.8 points and 3.3 rebounds across 52 games (all off the bench). Shot 41.1% on two-point field goals and 39.1% from three-point range on 2.5 attempts per game.

2018-2019 Salary: $4,320,500

Future Contract Status: Unrestricted free agent

Summary:

Mike Scott came to the Clippers as a free agent for veteran depth after spending five years with the Atlanta Hawks and one year with the Washington Wizards. He comfortably slotted in Doc Rivers’ ten-man rotation and was a regular part of the second group alongside Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. The theory of Scott was to provide spacing for the Williams-Harrell pick-and-roll and to provide smart, positional team defense on the other end of the floor.

It’s hard to say what kind of role Scott would have had if Luc Mbah a Moute were healthy this season, given that they both would have competed for the same forward minutes. As it stands, Scott was the only healthy option for much of the season. There were also plenty of backup four minutes to go around due to the team’s insistence on managing Danilo Gallinari’s workload, which proved to be the right decision.

Preseason, there was a hope that Scott could be a small-ball five option after he moonlighted at center during his time with the Wizards, especially because of LA’s glut of backcourt options. However, only 96 of Scott’s 1513 non-garbage time possessions came at the five.

Ultimately, Scott’s days in Los Angeles were numbered. The Clippers traded him near the deadline as part of a blockbuster deal that sent Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, and Scott to the Philadelphia 76ers for Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, and future draft assets. Scott’s tenure will be remembered for his role in that trade, which gave LA a great deal of future flexibility and two promising young players in Shamet, and indirectly, Ivica Zubac.

Strengths:

Scott was very cognizant of what his role was in the Clippers’ bench unit. He had a low usage rate of 13.9 percent and took 57 percent of his field-goal attempts from three-point range, per Cleaning the Glass, where he shot 39.1 percent. He also had a low turnover rate, only giving the ball away on 10.3 percent of his possessions. LA was 1.1 points per 100 possessions better with Scott on the floor, thanks in most part to his defense. His presence on the court also opened up shots at the rim, and Harrell was more than happy to convert those at a high rate.

Mike Scott was also one of the more fashionable Clippers. His customized hockey jerseys were a delight, and I am most partial to this Los Angeles Kings get-up. (We’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge Gallinari’s excellent leather jacket in the background). The story behind Scott choosing to wear hockey jerseys — and swap out the names — is also great, since he readily admits that he doesn’t watch the sport.

Weaknesses:

Despite the fact that he shot well from three, Scott was terrible from inside the arc (41.1 percent on twos), making him a below-average offensive player. He also never draws fouls, and isn’t a particularly good free-throw shooter. He has had low block and steal rates throughout his career, and he committed a few too many fouls for a bench player, considering he was never guarding the opposing team’s biggest threats.

Nothing Scott did really popped when he was on the court. He was generally in the right spot on offense and defense, but didn’t bring much extra to the table. If Lou and Trez didn’t have it going, Scott wasn’t going to help juice the bench offense. He was consistently available, but kind of just there.

Future with the Clippers:

Scott has already moved on to the Philadelphia 76ers, whose fan base seems very happy to have him around. He has carved out a sixth man role on a contender in the Eastern Conference, and the Sixers genuinely felt his absence when he was injured for the first two games of the semifinal round. The Clippers plan on going big-game hunting this offseason, however, and there doesn’t seem to be much interest from either side in bringing Scott back to Los Angeles. He would have a similarly minimal role as a backup veteran, and that doesn’t figure to appeal to either party.

Final Season Grade: C+

This was a perfectly average signing for the Clippers, who got regular minutes out of a role player, and nothing more. The only thing that pushes Mike Scott ever-so-slightly over the top is his off-court intrigue, some of which has been mentioned above.

He began his LA tenure in the best way possible, crystallizing this team’s identity in a way few others could.

He took a sip of a fan’s drink after falling into the crowd. Yes, that happened as a member of the Sixers, but everyone in the Clippers locker room was talking about it that day. And Scott was the most vocal fan of his alma mater Virginia throughout the college basketball season, which ended rather nicely when the Cavaliers won the national title. I vividly remember him shutting down Tobias when he was talking about Tennessee being ranked number one in the country, saying that at the end of the season, it would be Virginia.

Mike Scott won’t leave much of an impression historically in terms of his basketball impact on the LA Clippers, but he was an interesting character to have around. Best of luck to him in the NBA playoffs this year, and going forward.