Entering his 4th season in the NBA, Mike Muscala knew this was a big season for him as well as the Hawks. Muscala’s player option was picked up by the Hawks during the offseason, and looked to play a larger role due to the departure of Al Horford in Free Agency back in July. Muscala is considered a stretch four throughout his time in the league, however in the last two seasons, Muscala was listed as a center.
The Hawks wanted to see the four year veteran become a consistent role player to relieve . During Muscala’s first three seasons, he shot around 50% from the field and 33% from behind the arc. He’s never been considered a banger with his lanky frame, but being 6’11, you would expect Muscala to be a solid rebounding option off the bench. Unfortunately, he’s only managed to average (2.5) rebounds per game and is a liability on defense at times.
Muscala appeared in 70 games during the 2016-17 season and started in three games, averaging 18 minutes per game. Muscala got off to a remarkable start and many Hawks fans, including me, thought he was the “most improved player” at that time. He averaged (8.3) points per game and was shooting over (50%) from the field and (40%) from behind the arc. After the February NBA Trade Deadline, the Hawks added another contributor in the front court, trading for 11 year veteran Ersan Ilyasova. As a result of the trade, his minutes would significantly decline and he wouldn’t make as many appearances in the lineup.
Due to the NBA continuing to change their style of play to a small ball system, I would expect for Muscala to draw a lot of interest in the Free Agency Period and earn a decent contract. Personally, I would not have an issue if the Hawks didn’t re-sign him; however, with the possibility of losing veteran All-Star Power Forward Paul Millsap, the Hawks could re-consider and choose to retain Muscala. Although his upside isn’t high, you can expect some production off the bench from the veteran power forward/ center. Muscala’s best game of the 2016-17 season was against the Milwaukee Bucks on November 11th shooting 55% from the field, posted 16 points and would finish the win by recording a +/- percentage of 11.
Phil Veasley is a resident of Atlanta who has been a die-hard Hawks fan since 2005. He is Civil Engineer student at KSU. Currently, Phil writes for Atlanta Hawks Talk while also managing all ATLSportsHQ sites. He can be reached on Twitter at @_ATLPhil