Muscala could be most skillful offensive big man

Muscala could be most skillful offensive big man
May 30, 2013, 10:45 am
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Should the Wizards stay at No. 3 or trade the pick?

At Bucknell, Mike Muscala didn't play in an offense in which he was able to maximize his potential.

At least, that’s his story and he's sticking to it.

“The system we played in was a half-court oriented offense. We valued really good shots and we didn't run in transition much,” said Muscala, a 6-10 center who averaged 18.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.3 blocks  per game in leading the Patriot League champions to a 28-6 record. “We really took care of the ball. In a system like that, you’re not always going to display the kind of athleticism I have.  That system garnered us a ton of success. That’s why we were so good. At the same time, I didn't show a lot of athleticism I have.”

Despite his size, which includes a 7-1 wingspan, Muscala didn't garner much attention at the pre-draft camp in Chicago two weeks ago, but several scouts noted what they called exactly that -- better-than-expected athleticism. The Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings interviewed him there out of 30 NBA teams.

Although Muscala was a center, he has the ability to face up and shoot the mid-range jumper which also could make him viable as a stretch power forward. He drops steps, jab steps and go right or left. He finishes with his off-hand (left) comfortably inside the paint. 

Before the draft lottery earlier this month, Muscala had been projected in several of many mock drafts to be taken by the Wizards who were slotted at No. 8 overall. They improved their position, however, and now are picking third which makes Muscala an unlikely selection unless the Wizard trade down or are able to trade back into the first round.

Unlike the raw likes of Steven Adams of Pittsburgh, who near 7-footer who has interviewed with the Wizards, Muscala is far more polished because he played all four years in college and wasn’t always a post player.

“I grew three inches each year in high school. When I came in I was a small forward,” said Muscala, who has extremely good foot speed and can run in the open court. “When I first came into Bucknell, I was a 4. I progressed naturally in that aspect.”

Still, he’ll have more than 10 individual workouts leading up to the June 27 draft. Because he didn't play against the best competition, there are concerns that Muscala’s numbers could be inflated. He did have 25 points on 10-for-17  shooting and 14 rebounds against Missouri, the only ranked team that Bucknell played last season.

“My goal right now is to be a first-round pick, but once you get drafted your journey starts then,” he said. “It doesn't matter where you get picked. From that point on, everyone’s equal.”