In an effort to get more minutes for Mike Scott, Hawks coach Larry Drew has recently begun to play the rookie some at the small forward position.
It will be a slow introduction, a tactic employed only when the matchup is right, for the power forward that has been limited playing behind Josh Smith, Al Horford and Ivan Johnson in his first season.
“I don’t want to throw too much at him too fast,” Drew said. “He is still trying to learn the 4 (power forward) spot. But in what we do at times 3 (small forward) and 4 can be interchangeable. It wouldn’t be a lot for him to make the adjustment.”
Scott has not seen much action in the Hawks’ past two games, four minutes against the Celtics Friday and none against the Knicks Sunday. However, Scott played 13 minutes at the Bobcats last week, a game the Hawks were missing centers Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia. In the game prior, versus the Timberwolves, Scott set career-highs in points (11), minutes (22) field goals made (5), field goals attempted (6), offensive rebounds (3), defensive rebounds (4), total rebounds (7), assists (1) and steals (2).
Scott said there were plans for him to play some small forward after being a second-round pick out of Virginia last year.
“I still need to work on guarding smaller guards and quicker players,” Scott said. “I think it’s just defense. Offensively it is going to come natural to me. Defensively, guarding the post and being able to slide out to the perimeter that is going to be the challenge.”
It’s been a learning process for Scott in his rookie season. He has appeared in 19 of the Hawks’ 44 games. He appeared in just five of the team’s first 19 games, totaling two points in 17 minutes.
The Hawks sent Scott to their NBA Development League affiliate in Bakersfield (Calif.) for four games in December to get some needed playing time. Scott averaged 13.3 points, six rebounds and 1.3 assists in 29 minutes. Fellow rookie John Jenkins, the team’s first-round pick, was also sent to Bakersfield and stayed for two games. Jenkins has been seeing more time of late as the Hawks have dealt with injuries at the guard position, appearing in 17 of the past 18 games.
Drew said he looks for a favorable matchup for the 6-foot-8, 237-pound Scott.
“I don’t think there is a real big adjustment,” Drew said. “He just has to know the guys he’s defending. I won’t throw him on a real active 3, an off-the-dribble type 3. But there are some big 3’s in this league that I think he is capable of keeping them in front of him.”
Scott says he welcomes the opportunity for any playing time.
“(I like) being able to go past bigger defenders and being able to post up smaller defenders,” Scott said.
* The Hawks were off Monday after traveling back from New York following Sunday’s 106-104 loss to the Knicks. They return to practice Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday’s home game against the Raptors. The Hawks will play four of their next five games at Philips Arena.
* Kyle Korver extended his career-long streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 38 against the Knicks.
* Anthony Morrow did not make the trip as he continues to deal with back problems. The guard has missed the past 17 games.