Since his skilled profession started just a little over a yr in the past, Mac McClung has lived in 5 totally different cities and performed for six totally different groups. He’s jumped from one coast to the opposite, from the G League to the NBA, from a starter to a backup.
“It’s been crazy, but that’s how the game goes,” McClung mentioned in an episode of “The Break,” a sequence produced by the G League. “If I got to play for all 30 [teams] to make it, I’m going to play for all 30.”
Life on the fringes of the NBA is usually a curler coaster. And even for a former highschool celebrity and social media sensation like McClung, the highlight doesn’t shine very brilliant within the G. Nonetheless, the 6-2 guard out of Texas Tech has quietly been making large strides.
After going undrafted in 2021, McClung ultimately landed with the South Bay Lakers, the affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers. He averaged 19.6 factors, 5.8 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.2 steals by means of the primary 13 video games of the season earlier than being known as up by the Chicago Bulls in mid-December. Hundreds of gamers entered COVID-19 protocols that month, which led to an unprecedented variety of alternatives for G Leaguers. McClung signed a 10-day contract with the Bulls and made his NBA debut nearly precisely a yr in the past (2 factors in 3 minutes in opposition to the Hawks). Chicago gave him a second 10-day, however McClung didn’t obtain any extra taking part in time, and returned to the South Bay Lakers in January.
First identified for his jaw-dropping dunks, the 23-year-old has proven his versatility as a professional. Back with South Bay, he averaged 21.6 factors, 7.5 assists, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.5 steals, successful the 2021-22 Kia NBA G League Rookie of the Year award (earlier winners embody Paul Reed, Quinn Cook, Tim Frazier, and Robert Covington). In April, Los Angeles rewarded McClung with a two-way contract and introduced him up for the ultimate recreation of the common season. He capped a stable efficiency (and a Lakers victory) that night with a kind of signature jaw-dropping dunks…
Despite a profitable, albeit hectic, rookie yr, and a powerful exhibiting on the 2022 Summer League, McClung didn’t make a gap day roster. He turned down million-dollar provides from golf equipment abroad, as an alternative opting to rejoin the G League and hold chasing his NBA dream. As a member of the Delaware Blue Coats, the affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, McClung has thrived in numerous roles this season. He dropped a career-high 44 factors in November and notched his second profession triple-double (21 factors, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) shortly after. On some nights, he’s offered a much-needed scoring prompt the bench; on others, he’s been the Blue Coats’ major playmaker, operating the offense and facilitating for his teammates.
Mahaz News caught up with McClung throughout the current G League Winter Showcase in Las Vegas. Delaware received each of their video games on the annual scouting occasion, with McClung averaging 12.5 factors (on 59 p.c capturing), 7 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals.
Mahaz News: What was your mindset heading into the Showcase?
Mac McClung: Just to profit from no matter my position is for the group. We received, 2-0, that’s at all times nice. Wish we have been within the winner’s bracket. But yeah, simply profit from it. Show that I can slot in in any state of affairs.
Mahaz News: How are you a special participant this season in comparison with final season?
MM: I feel I simply turned higher at adapting to conditions. I really feel like in the event you’ve seen this yr, I’ve performed a number of totally different roles for this group. And I really feel like I’ve been a constructive affect in every and hopefully individuals discover that and see that I can adapt to any state of affairs.
Mahaz News: Is there something particular that you simply labored on this summer season?
MM: Really simply movie work on persistence. When your minutes get reduce or one thing, individuals typically need to drive issues. I type of discovered to [hold] that again and in addition simply play the sport the best means it doesn’t matter what the state of affairs is, which sounds simple however it’s tougher than it sounds.
Mahaz News: Can you sum up what this previous yr has been like for you, with all of the motion up and down and to totally different groups/cities?
MM: It’s been a rollercoaster, in the event you let it’s. That’s one factor I used to be speaking to my dad and mom about. If you let success decide your happiness, it’ll simply be a rollercoaster, as an alternative of simply shopping for into every day and the method. That’s one factor I’ve achieved. And I’m doing what I really like on daily basis. Me getting higher each single day is my aim—not [moving] up and down [from the NBA]. So when I’ve that point, hopefully I can seize it.
Mahaz News: Any particular moments that encapsulate simply how chaotic final season was for you?
MM: If you take a look at the entire state of affairs, I’ve modified a number of groups. Other groups picked me up. Here, in [Las Vegas] Summer League, I ended up with the Warriors, after I began with the Lakers. It’s simply having the ability to adapt, man. That’s simply the League. You’ve bought to regulate what you may. I can’t management what group I’m taking part in on or if somebody desires to provide me a chance. I simply at all times keep prepared.
Mahaz News: Can you describe your thought course of once you have been deciding whether or not to rejoin the G League or signal with a group abroad?
MM: I’ll shout out my finest buddy, Zac Ervin. I used to be provided fairly a bit of cash to go abroad—like, most likely I may change my life with that cash. I at all times inform myself I’m going to stay it by means of till I make it [to the NBA], as a result of I imagine in myself. And you get provided that stuff and also you’re like, Oh, man. That modifications. But my boy Zac was like, “Man, that’s not who you are.” Because we labored out on daily basis from seventh grade to senior yr. Every single day. He was like, “Man, you weren’t in the gym for that.” So I’m like, Damn, that’s not who I’m. Let me get it whereas I’m right here.
Mahaz News: How was your transient expertise within the NBA final yr helpful? What did you’re taking away from it?
MM: It’s good simply seeing it and studying. I feel that’s the largest factor—expertise. When it involves rising, individuals discuss, you may work on sure issues, however expertise is so worthwhile, man. Being there earlier than is efficacious. I bought to the touch the NBA just a little bit and I bought these nerves out, these jitters, and I bought to see what it’s about. And I’m prepared each time my subsequent alternative comes.
Mahaz News: What are you able to present an NBA group proper now?
MM: Multiple issues—that’s what I’m making an attempt to indicate. I’m numerous. If you want me to come back and be a degree guard off the bench and get others concerned, I can try this. If you want me to attain, I can rating. I’m going to be lively—I’m going to be rebounding, diving on the ground, simply [providing] power in any means you need me to.
Mahaz News: What’s the largest false impression about your recreation?
MM: When I used to be in school, I wasn’t a lot of a degree guard. But I feel in the event you watch these video games, I actually get my teammates concerned.
Mahaz News: What’s the largest false impression about life within the G League?
MM: People simply don’t perceive how lonely it’s, I don’t suppose. It’s not simple. Andre Ingram advised me, “Every five days, something changes.” In the G League, one thing is altering each 5 days.
Mahaz News: What are your general targets for this season?
MM: Just to continue to grow every day, man. I need to play within the NBA. I imagine I’m an NBA participant. But that may come after I hold engaged on every day, making an attempt to develop every day.
Photos by way of Getty Images.
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