Mike Muscala Picked by Dallas Mavericks: Scouting Report and Analysis
(According to Sports Illustrated, the Mavericks have traded Muscala, to the Atlanta Hawks.)
Here's everything you need to know about Muscala:
Muscala has been one of the top mid-major players in the country over the past two years. He led Bucknell to the NCAA tournament in 2013 and will now try make his mark in the NBA.
Muscala averaged nearly 19 points and 11 rebounds a game as a senior with the Bison. He might have been under the national radar, but NBA scouts have closely followed the Patriot League standout.
At over 6'11'', Muscala has the length to play either the 4 or the 5 in the NBA. He uses his size and 7'1'' wingspan as a scorer, rebounder and interior defender. Even though he's not the most explosive player, his lack of athleticism is not a major red flag.
The major concern physically is whether or not he's capable of handling contact in the pros. During the NCAA tournament, Butler's sturdy center Andrew Smith prevented Muscala from getting inside, forcing him to shoot 4-of-17 from the field in one of the biggest games of the Bucknell star's collegiate career.
Muscala's weight of 230 pounds can work in the NBA for forwards who play above the rim, but the transition to the league is tougher for big men like himself who use skill in the absence of power.
Muscala finished first among all participants at the NBA Draft Combine during spot-up shooting drills.
He has a great feel for the rim and a soft touch out to 20 feet. The big man projects as your typical pick-and-pop threat or drive-and-kick target, with the ability to catch and shoot in rhythm.
He shot at least 50 percent from the field and 78 percent from the foul line in his last three years at Bucknell. Muscala has a great touch from everywhere inside the arc. The next step is extending his range to the NBA three-point line.
The 22-year-old Muscala is a very polished high-post scorer. With his back to the rim, he's capable of turning over both shoulders and knocking down fadeaway jumpers.
Muscala is one of the rare players coming out of college who is already adept at scoring out of the high post.
The big man shows quick foot speed when given room to operate. Thanks to a reliable jumper, Muscala often exploits vulnerable defenders who are forced to play up tight on him, blowing by them off the dribble.
Facing the basket, Muscala can beat his man and finish on the move.
Muscala has excellent scoring instincts on the low block and can finish inside with either hand. He consistently converts his jump hook in the lane.
The Bison star's challenge in the NBA will be getting position on defenders down low in the post. He'll need to add strength and muscle to his frame so that he can absorb contact on his way to the rim.
Muscala is always quick to box out once a shot goes up. He takes advantage of offensive rebounds as scoring opportunities on loose balls around the rim.
As a senior, the big man finished in the top five in the country in rebounding, averaging 11 rebounds—and nearly three offensive boards—per game.
Defensively, Muscala has been rock solid on the interior, blocking 2.4 shots per game this past season. NBA coaches will be more concerned with whether or not he can hold his ground defending in the post.
Still, the fact that he's a smart, long and willing defender works in his favor.
Muscala rarely had the opportunity to play against power-conference competition, so his impressive college statistics are tough to project to the next level.
He came up short in in this year's NCAA tournament, but the big man's talent, size and basketball IQ will give him a chance to prove he does belong in the NBA.
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