Summer League review: Shelvin Mack

Summer League review: Shelvin Mack
July 24, 2012, 4:20 pm
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The 2012 Las Vegas Summer League is in the books. Time to reflect on what wewitnessed during those five games from your Washington Wizards. After reviewingJanVesely, up next, Shelvin Mack.(Literally as I submitted this post, the Wizards went ahead and signed former Indiana Pacers point guard A.J. Price, confirming the belief held by me and others that the team could not enter next season with a status quo point guard depth chart. Guess Wizards agreed. Some reasons why exist below...)2012 Summer League stats: 11 points, 2.4 assists, 40.4 FGpercent, 29.4 3ptFG percent, 3.4 turnovers.The good: Reached double figure points in four straightgames, including 14 against the D-League Select squad. Confidence rose in allaspects when shots fell and Mack worked effectively on the wings assumingothers created a given play's initial momentum. The tireless worker on defense rarely appeared flustered and his attitude is of ateam-first nature. Assist totals not helped by poor 3-point shooting throughoutthe roster.On the other hand...: Essentially what the Summer Leagie was about for Mack is summed up in this Sam Cassell quote following the Wizards second loss of the session: "We're looking for somebody who can run a ball club. You know, we got John Wall, but after John Wall, we gotta figure it out, and that's what we're trying to do."Five games should not be the end allbe all of evaluations, but Las Vegas represented Mack's opportunity to show thecoaches and management that even if his transition to point guard remained awork in progress, it was working. Not sure anyone can claim that happened. TheWizards offense frequently stagnated or turned into one-on-one ball with therising second-year guard running the attack. Mack lacks the authoritativepresence as a dribbler, passer or scorer when it comes to initiating theattack. Even when he made it past his initial defender and found the lane, issuesarose trying to get all the way to the rim or sending a pass to the right spot.The quotable Sam Cassell, on Mack: I dont think Shelvinfrom last year never really had a long stint at the point guard position. Thisyear hes going to have to do that in order to be good on this team."Forecast...: There are two issues for Mack; the minutes Washington has available are as a backup point guard and this team has made it clear a postseason push is the goal. When paired with an aggressive backcourt mate,either a true playmaker like John Wall or an assertive scorer like JordanCrawford, Mack will prove more effective as an off-the-ball performer. RookieBradley Beal showed he can take over as a floor leader, but that is not hislong-term path and one the Wizards do not need him spending tons of ton as the19-year-old adjusts to the NBA game. Realistically at times in Vegas, with the poised Beal, pass-firstCzech prospect Tomas Satoransky and veteran distributor Earl Calloway alltaking turns, Mack was the fourth best offensive point guard on the roster. TheWizards are taking their time with free agency, waiting for the market tosettle, but it would be stunning if they did not add a veteran ball handlingoption. If the postseason talk is sincere, they cannot enter the season withessentially one stable point guard and Wall is learning the craft in his ownway.Any 2012-13 roster projection should include the former Butler star with thelevelheaded demeanor, squatty frame and quality shot from distance. In theright scenario, Mack could work as a fourth guard, but based on Vegas, hard torealistically project his name among the first wave of reserves.Update: While Price provides the team a more natural point guard option, the former Connectictut star's presence should not automatically send Mack to the end of the bench - though it likely will.