By Ryan Yousefi
Combo guard Shelvin Mack, from Butler University, is an interesting prospect in this 2011 NBA Draft. Although he starred on back to back NCAA runner-up teams, he seems to be overshadowed, even at Butler, at times.
While Butler has become more of a household name in College Basketball, their players truly have not. In 2009, their star was Gordon Hayward, whom Utah selected in that year’s draft with the 7thoverall pick. This year, Matt Howard got most of the attention – but in my opinion, both of those teams were fueled by Shelvin Mack. I will however concede, Matt Howard’s majestic mustache is rightfully worthy of a bulk of your attention.
Mack is listed at 6’3’’, and is capable of playing either guard position. He averaged 16 points, 3.5 assists, and 3.5 rebounds at Butler last year, shouldering most of the perimeter scoring load, with Hayward since gone to the NBA. Scouts almost universally agree he has one of the most “NBA Ready” bodies in the draft, weighing in at 215lbs. While he isn’t your “true point guard”, he is more of a “do it all” type of player. Right away, when watching more tape of his, he reminded me a lot of Luol Deng. He has no hesitation in his step, and seems to know exactly what type of shot he is trying to get. He has a noticeable “Heat check” mode about him, but a lot of that most likely had to do with the teammates surrounding him. Mack’s strength is flat out his ability to score, but as an added bonus – he is extremely careful with the basketball.
He is one of the most aggressive players I watched in college basketball last year, which intrigues me most about him. His defensive game reminds me a lot of Russell Westbrook at times, seemingly anticipating passes very nicely – to make up for his lack of speed.To say he is a frustrating defender, would be an understatement – the kid gets after it. His mixture of tenacious defense, and outstanding offensive game – make him a steal as the 31st pick in the draft.
The key to Mack’s value for Miami in the second round, is that he is a player that Miami could get big minutes out of right away. Something about this kid screams “Kinda guy the San Antonio Spurs would take”, and that’s a huge compliment in my book. It’s well known Miami will have it’s share of roster spots to fill this offseason, with many of those one year contracts expiring – and a portion of its roster likely flat out retiring. Beyond another crop of one year deals, Miami’s best way to get younger and better, on the cheap – is in this Thursdays draft. While Shelvin Mack may not be the answer at point guard right away, he would be a solid answer to the question of whom will provide solid bench scoring next season. Mack has the combination of outside shooting, and defensive “want to”, Miami should covet with the 31st pick.
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