RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Shelvin Mack

Posted by nvr1983 on June 10th, 2011

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 23, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Shelvin Mack

School: Butler

Height/Weight: 6’2, 210 lbs.

NBA Position: Point Guard

Projected Draft Range: Late First/Early Second Round

Overview: After spending his sophomore season playing in the shadows of Gordon Hayward, Mack emerged as the leader of the Bulldogs along with senior Matt Howard last year. While Howard may have been the public face of the Bulldogs, it was Mack’s stellar play that helped them achieve a similar result to the previous season even without Hayward leading them. As a junior, Mack averaged 16.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.4 APG while directing a Butler team that had suddenly become one of the biggest games on every opposing team’s schedule. However, at the same time he started shouldering a heavier load at Butler, his efficiency numbers also plummeted (FG% down from 45.4% to 40.8% and 3FG% down from 39.1% to 35.4%), which is certainly reasonable, but is still concerning for a fairly short point guard who doesn’t possess your typical one-guard skills. The questions surrounding Mack are ones that dog nearly every college guard that is a hybrid between a point guard and shooting guard but lacks the requisite height and/or athleticism to make the player stand out from about a dozen other prospects in the same year. Mack could be a successful player in the NBA, but that will depend on his ability to learn to play point. 

Mack thrived at Butler, but the NBA may be a different story

Will Translate to the NBA: Mack will have to play the point guard position in the NBA. He lacks the size or quickness to play any substantial minutes in the NBA as a shooting guard, but if he doesn’t adapt he can still get a few minutes here and there but his time at the next level will be limited by the fact that he lacks an elite NBA skill to make him stand apart. While Mack may struggle to adapt to the point guard position offensively he should be a solid defender as soon as he gets to the NBA because he already has a pro-ready body and should be able to defend almost any NBA point guard with the exception of uber-athletes like Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook. Mack will probably be a career back-up, particularly due to the recent resurgence at the point guard position, but could potentially start in a few years if he finds the right situation on a team that can adapt to not having a strong traditional point guard.

Needs Work: Being a point guard. Unless Mack can master playing the position and getting the ball to the right people at the right time, his NBA shelf life will be short. His shooting numbers will almost definitely be improved as he will be a more selective shooter in the NBA (if he isn’t, he won’t be on the court much) so that is not as much of a concern. Mack’s ball-handling skills are adequate to at least become a back-up point guard, but his decision-making is the big question. While his exposure at the point guard position was relatively limited due to Butler’s offense that used multiple point guards at time, his mediocre assist-to-turnover ratio (1.41) while playing in the Horizon League is concerning. The other concern is his height. If he is stuck playing against significantly taller defenders he will also struggle to get his shot off. Normally we would say that a player should work on getting open off the ball, but in Mack’s case that should be an even bigger issue because to play in the NBA he will need to have the ball in his hands most of the time.

Comparison Players: The NBA comparison that comes to mind is Derek Fisher, but honestly it could basically be any solid college guard who fits in more as a shooting guard, but is forced to try to play point guard because of his height. Fisher’s career is probably the best case scenario for Mack and is highly unlikely. Mack’s problem and the reason he cannot be compared to players like Ben Gordon (mentioned on some other NBA Draft sites) is that he lacks the explosiveness and is not as dynamic of a scorer as Gordon. Mack mirrors Fisher in that they both have similar builds and skill sets (short and strong with good outside shooting, but lack prototypical NBA athleticism).

Best Case Scenario: Mack winds up on a team where he can learn to play the point guard position behind an experienced veteran who could also teach him how to play the position. The team should also have at least one or two established scorers so Mack isn’t forced to try to score on his own at times. Even though Mack has shown flashes of brilliance as a big-time, late-game scorer, it would not behoove him to try to do that in the NBA because he should be working on becoming a legitimate NBA point guard instead of being a scorer, which he already is, but will likely lead to a career in Europe.

2014 Projection: Mack will probably be a fringe NBA player at this point. As much as we love his game, we get the sense that there are too many guys like him and while he may be a better overall player than many of those guys he lacks the one elite skill that will make NBA teams want to use him over another player who possesses an elite skill. Mack will probably put up decent numbers and will have a few games where he scores in double figures, but those will be mixed in with too many games where he barely sees the court. Unfortunately, at this point in his career Mack may be looking towards Europe as a potential destination unless he develops his point guard skills very quickly.

Best NBA Fit: The Dallas Mavericks. Not only could Mack learn from Jason Kidd, one of the best to ever play the position, but his defense would also be highly valued as would his ability to shoot from outside. Playing on a team like this would allow Mack to showcase his already developed offensive skills while working on his point guard skills in a controlled environment under the watchful eye of Kidd. With Kidd’s age he should also get plenty of time to play as a back-up and work with a solid group of outside shooters who should help him look good.

Scout’s Take (Chris Denker from Netscouts Basketball): “I like him, but wonder about how good of an athlete he is… he makes big shots, is a clutch guy, definite winner… he has an NBA body already, but he probably needs to get in better shape.”

nvr1983 (1398 Posts)

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