Anyone who saw Mitch McGary play at Michigan should not be surprised that the sleepy-eyed southpaw became a fan favorite when he finally was healthy enough to get on the court. Belated debuts are often flush with optimism. When's the last time a band started playing on time? Build the suspense. That's what happened with Mitch, who did his part by producing pinball machine double-doubles in his first two games. Your proverbial stat-sheet stuffer.
Sunday night I interviewed the 6-10, 255 pounder that Sam Presti nabbed with the twenty first pick of the 2014 draft. One day earlier, McGary was up to it again: 15 minutes, nine points (4-7 FG, 1-1 FT), 10 rebounds (yes, 10 rebounds), two steals, and two blocks. One thing for sure, it's exciting when big Mitch checks in. Sorta like the QB who throws 3 TDs and 3 picks in the first quarter. Some guys dare-to-be-great. Mix it up. McGary's one of those guys. Something's gonna happen. So far it's been mostly good. Last five games he's basically averaging 10 points, 8 rebounds, 7 floor burns and six ear-to-ear grins.
The guy is far from perfect. Injuries have left him far from tip-top shape. Vertically challenged, if the over/under is the New York City phone book I'd have to sleep on it. He's shooting 57 percent from the line on limited charity tosses and my guess is he'll struggle there. And I'd bet he's not gonna be a guy who tickles the twine from 15-18 feet with the consistency you need to be special.
With the Thunder now having the able bodies of newcomer Enes Kanter and Steven Adams ahead of him, not to mention another fan and Scott Brooks favorite in Nick Collison—er, Mr. Thunder—McGary's playing time will likely be limited. But if there's a lull in the action Brother Brooks knows where to look.