Shelvin Mack fitting into Wizards’ rotation

December 15, 2011

Washington Wizards rookie point guard Shelvin Mack is learning a new system with a new team and down in the depth chart behind John Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s NBA draft. None of those obstacles has the former Butler star discouraged

Just check his Twitter account. Virtually every morning he’ll tweet “Think Positive,” and that attitude has been supremely important in his development during his first professional training camp, albeit compressed because of the lockout.

“In college, you didn’t always have the best of everything,” Mack said. “Now you’ve got the best of everything so you don’t have any excuses.”

Mack has been matched against Wall during scrimmages. Not only has that assignment helped Mack improve defensively, but he’s also been able to absorb some of the nuances of playing point guard in the NBA.

Mack has played with Wall when the Wizards use a three-guard rotation with Jordan Crawford. That back court has a combined two years of NBA experience, but Mack infuses a work ethic born from a winning culture at Butler. The mid-major appeared in consecutive NCAA finals thanks in large part to Mack’s contributions.

“It’s team. It’s we over me,” Mack said. “I know if the team does well, everybody will do well [individually]. We’ve just got to do the little things. That’s the biggest thing when it comes to winning.”

One area where Mack could use improvement, Coach Flip Saunders said, is shooting.

“He’s got to go against John everyday. That’s not the easiet thing either, or Jordan, either one of those two, but he’s making good progress,” Saunders said. “He’s been able to get us into an offense. He hasn’t shot the ball as well as I think he’s going to shoot it. I think that will come.”

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.
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