The Wizards‘ new forward Mike Scott describes himself as an impatient person.
Last season, which started with nonsurgical procedures to help soothe a sore left knee and ended with the Atlanta Hawks sending him to Phoenix in February, where he was immediately waived, just droned on for the 28-year-old. Scott never quite felt like himself as he left behind one hell (rehabilitation) to turn to another (playing through lingering injury), all the while shuttling between Atlanta and the D-league. He played poorly in limited opportunities with the Hawks.
“Basically, I sucked,” Scott said with a chuckle.
That low point in Scott’s career once felt like it would last forever. But in a conference call on Monday, Scott said he’s finally feeling healthy and ready to start anew in Washington. The Wizards signed the former University of Virginia standout to a one-year, veteran minimum deal worth $1.7 million on July 4. It’s the chance Scott has been waiting for.
“Right now, I’m 100 percent, no other issues, I’m just grateful for the opportunity,” Scott said. “Fresh new start, great organization, great players, great coaches. So I’m happy … I didn’t feel healthy until after I was waived around late March, early April. That’s when I started feeling 100 percent, so the whole season I was just trying to get through it. I really wanted to play, I really love basketball, so I just wanted to get through the injury and just play.”
Scott, along with Jodie Meeks, were signed to bolster a fledgling Wizards’ bench at an economical price. Scott shot 39.2 percent from three and had a defensive rating of 95.3 in 2015-16, his last full season, and was a key part of the rotation when Atlanta made it to the third round of the playoffs in 2014-15.
After receiving platet-rich plasma injections into his left knee at the start of the 2016-17 season, he started training at full speed again on May 2. Scott worked on foot speed, quickness and ball handling to better equip himself for an increasingly versatile NBA. But the forward, frank and good-humored with reporters, spoke like he had a strong sense of his place within the Wizards organization. He knows one of his greatest assets on this young team is his experience.
He logged 32 playoff games in four years with the Hawks.
“Definitely shooting, being athletic, running the floor, making plays for my teammates, and being a vet that knows playoff situations,” Scott said when asked how he fits in with this Wizards roster. “I’ve been in the playoffs before. I’m not trying to come in here and do too much — this team already has a great group of guys, they have their great starting five. I just want to come in, play hard, make shots, dunk on people, have fun. Just prove to everyone that I’m healthy and everything else is good.”
That “everything else” includes past off-court issues, which Scott talked about as part of a low point in his career he’s looking to put in the past. During summer 2015, Scott and his brother Antonn were pulled over and arrested in Georgia after an officer discovered MDMA and marijuana in the car. The traffic stop was later ruled to be racially motivated and evidence related to the arrest was thrown out in May.
“My situation, I’m just gonna flush it, put it behind me,” Scott said. “I told the same thing to my little brother =- flush it, put it behind you, go back to school, start brand new. I’m coming into D.C. to start brand new, start fresh, leave everything else behind.”