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Clippers Retrospective: Mike Scott Was a Positive Presence for the Clippers

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Mike Scott embraces being on whatever team he is a part of. He provided perhaps the NBA quote of the year in a Clippers uniform, and played a good amount in L.A. However, his actual production on the court was inconsistent.

Los Angeles Clippers v Toronto Raptors Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Key stats

  • Signed a 1 year, $4.32 million deal with the L.A. Clippers on July 9, 2018
  • Played in 52 games for L.A. (0 starts), averaging 4.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and .8 assists on splits of .400/.391/.667 in 14.4 minutes.
  • Was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers along with Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic on February 6, 2019. In exchange, the Clippers got Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler and a number of future draft picks that helped L.A. get Paul George in a trade with the Thunder.

Expectations

Despite only signing a cheap one year deal, the expectations for Mike Scott were fairly high in L.A. Granted, they were high for someone who was only projected to be an 8th or 9th man, but after having the best season of his career in 2017-18 with the Washington Wizards, Clippers fans hoped that he would continue this upward progression. In Washington, Scott established himself as a knockdown three-point shooter, a tough presence, and a guy who could do a lot of the little things to help a team win. His splits in his lone season in Washington were .527/.405/.658, with the first two being career highs. He averaged nearly nine points a game in only 18.5 minutes. The Clippers were probably surprised they could get him on a cheap, expiring deal and welcomed him into the lineup with open arms.

Reality

Unfortunately, the upward progression Clippers fans were expecting didn’t come to fruition. Despite only averaging four less minutes per game, Scott’s points per game were slashed in half, and both his field goal percentage and three point percentage were down from the year prior. While he did shoot nearly 40% (39.1%) from three, he did the bulk of his damage during a hot half of October and November. In December and January, Scott shot a combined 31.8% from three while scoring a mere four points a night. During an 10 game stretch spanning late December and early January, Scott went 3-for-19 from three.

Sadly, after a hot start, Scott didn’t pass the eye test as a three-and-D forward. Scott’s outside jumper was too streaky, and he didn’t show much prowess around the basket, despite being 6’8” with a forward’s body. While his minutes were a bit more inconsistent than he would have liked, he wasn’t really giving the coaching staff a ton to work with.

Scott’s presence in the rotation waffled as his play went up and down. He has always been a tough dude who will defend well, go hard at the glass, and at least try to make the smart play. However, in recent seasons he has sort of pigeon-holed himself into the 3-and-D mold and if he’s not really hitting from outside, his impact is limited. Detractors will state, “It’s hard to get into a rhythm when you don’t have the ball much.” Playing with Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell in the second unit meant that the ball wasn’t in his hands as much as he might have liked, but Scott still averaged 4.5 shots a game. That’s not a crazy high number, but for someone who only averaged 14.4 minutes a game, that’s enough of a barometer to see if someone is consistently knocking down shots.

Scott did have his moments though. In a (surprisingly) hard-fought game against the Atlanta Hawks in the middle of November, Scott hit a career high six threes to lead the Clippers to a fourth quarter comeback and keep a five game winning streak alive.

Scott was also part of the “grit and grind” identity that molded the Clippers last season. He notoriously (and famously) backed this “tough” identity the Clippers had, stating in an interview with CBS Sports, “we ain’t no bitches.” That was a quote sent from the gods that truly did encapsulate the attitude and demeanor of a team that massively overachieved on its way to the playoffs. While Scott perhaps slightly disappointed on-court in a Clippers uniform, he was an integral part of cultivating a tough presence and identity that this franchise needed post Lob-City.

Legacy

Mike Scott will more than likely be looked upon fondly by Clipper fans. Scott was a good example of someone who didn’t really add or subtract too much while on the floor. He played good D and provided tough help defense. He also provided some shooting, albeit not always at a consistent level. He always gave his all, and while he didn’t play great on the court as a Clipper, the attitude and culture he helped instill made him easily worth the contract the Clippers gave him. Mike played well in Philly after the trade, and secured himself a two year deal back east, as well as an incredibly appreciative (almost cultish) fanbase. Just a good story all around.