After impressing during his first half-season with the Philadelphia 76ers (following the acquisition of him at the 2019 trade deadline), Mike Scott has experienced some major setbacks in his second stint with the team.
Brought back during free agency on a two-year/$9.8 million contract, Scott has seen noticeable regression in a few key statistical categories. His scoring has gone down, his 3P% has gone down, and most importantly his playing time has gone down.
2018-2019: 7.8 PTS, 3.8 REB, 41.2 3P%, and 24 minutes per game
2019-2020: 5.7 PTS, 3.8 REB, 35.8 3P%, and 17.8 minutes per game
*stats while playing for the Sixers*
Scott has experienced some brutally tough stretches during this current season (25.6 3P% during the month of January), and this has led to him pretty much being shuttled out of Brett Brown’s rotation. His average playing time dropped all the way down to 12.6 minutes during February, as Brett began putting his trust in players like Furkan Korkmaz instead.
With the arrival of Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks at the trade deadline, it really seemed like Scott would end up a full-on reserve come playoff time. However, due to the nature of the shortened season, the leader of the “Mike Scott Hive” might actually get one last opportunity to prove himself within the Sixers organization.
Scott played a beyond crucial role during the Sixers’ playoff run last season. He averaged just under 20 minutes a night and was the second-best distance shooter on the team behind JJ Redick. The Sixers regularly used him as a stretch four or a “small ball five”, and it really helped open things up for Embiid down low. Scott also hit that magnificent corner three game-winner during Game 4 against the Nets.
Scott has no doubt struggled this past season, but the versatility he provides remains relevant. While he’s only 6’ 8”, he plays with the toughness of someone who is 6’ 11”. This allows him to occasionally hold his own down low when it comes to running a smaller lineup.
The Sixers are entering the postseason without JJ Redick, Jimmy Butler, and James Ennis, and the team is going to have to find a way to replace their minutes. While eyes might turn towards the newly acquired Robinson III and Burks, they in all reality have barely had time to learn their teammates’ names.
On top of all that, the 76ers’ depth at the center/power forward position is a bit of a disaster. It’s unknown what role Al Horford will be playing this August, and someone like Kyle O’Quinn has looked mediocre at best when he sees the floor. This provides a huge gap of minutes down low where Mike Scott could find himself filling in at.
This is by no means a ringing endorsement for Scott to get “sixth-man” minutes like he did last year, in fact I had him listed as the ninth man in my “playoff rotation prediction piece” that I made earlier this month. However, I’ve seen a lot of fans being quick to write him off, and I simply don’t think that’s the case. Don’t be surprised at all if he’s routinely one of the earlier names called off the bench early in the postseason.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports