Mac McClung fever has taken the NBA by storm. Heads turned towards this relatively unknown G-League prospect after an electrifying Rising Stars Challenge performance and an even more so electrifying dunk contest, where McClung would stun the NBA with his high flying ability and athleticism. Mac McClung has made a stunning turnaround over the last few weeks from a Youtube sensation turned promising prospect on the Delaware Blue Coats to an NBA sensation, asserting himself into the history books of the NBA All Star Game.
McClung recently signed a 2-way contract with the 76ers, waiving Julian Champagnie in the process. Given his recent surge in popularity, the prospect of seeing McClung on the team is one of great optimism and excitement. Although it may be easy for a 76ers fan to become enthralled by his incredible weekend performance, it is also important that McClung can fit within the team's rotations, systems, and the interests of the win-now Sixers. Let's take a closer look.
McClung is a young guard, 24 years of age, and despite being just 6'2, McClung has asserted himself as one of the best dunkers in the world. This is mainly attributed to his freakish vertical leap, listed at 43.5 inches during the G-League draft combine. This vertical allows McClung to make up for his size disadvantage and has allowed him to become one of the most prolific leapers in the sport. This was no clearer than in the dunk contest itself, where McClung would use his otherworldly hang time and leap to perform a 540 degrees spin on his last dunk. But McClung is not a one-trick pony. In fact, by looking at his G-League stats, one can see the true talent that McClung possesses.
BLUE COATS STATS: 19.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 4.7 apg, 57% from the field
Mac McClung has a lot of upside in his game. McClung is not just a prolific finisher at the rim, but is also a highly efficient three point shooter, shooting an impressive 50% from three with the Blue Coats. Mac's stats are a testament to his hard work, after going undrafted in the NBA draft, McClung would continue to work on his game, and has significantly improved his game, becoming a highly efficient volume scorer. But how would he fit with the 76ers lineups and rotations.
Being on a 2-way contract, it is expected that Mac is going to see limited minutes, especially with the infamous young-player hating Doc Rivers coaching the team, however, I find it very unlikely that Mac will not see playing time. Given his recent success, it seems criminal to not at the very least give him some garbage time minutes to satisfy the fans. Assuming he does make the team, I think Mac could become a very important piece in the rotation. His scoring and efficiency is something that most teams in the NBA wouldn't pass up on, and Mac has also proven in the past as a serviceable off ball player, and someone who would be willing to allow some of the more experience players on the team handle the ball.
Unlike other young gifted players his age, what strikes me as the most important is McClung's humble attitude and modest beginnings. McClung is not a brash, hot-headed trash talker, he is a hard working young guard who is focused only on proving himself on the court. In this way, he reminds me a lot of Tyrese Maxey, another hard working young guard who was picked late in the first round of the draft, and has had to prove himself. Much like Maxey, McClung is hard worker, and will give the team 100% effort on the court. Although Maxey is undoubtedly the more refined and skilled player, it isn't hard to love McClung's attitude and hard work. Mac would not be the locker room cancer some other young guys are he has the passion and drive to greatly help the 76ers team.
However, McClung is still not perfect as a player. The NBA is, after all, a whole other league to the G-League, and McClung will be thrust onto the court playing some of the best players in the world. McClung still has a lot to be desired, his defence is far from perfect, and despite possessing the athleticism and energy to compensate on defence, as a young guy his defensive IQ and skills are a work in progress. Another issue I see is the similarities to Maxey, despite being a great player himself it is not always the most ideal to place two similar guards on the same team, where there may be less opportunity. However, assuming the McClung experiment pays off, I could see him play Maxey's 6th man role, as a young explosive guard who can give our mediocre bench lineups the energy to hold their own.
However, nothing can be said for sure until Mac himself plays in a game. For the time being, 76ers fans should be excited to see such a talented young player on their team, and what the future could bring for the young high flyer.