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    Mac McClung Talks G League Journey, NBA Expertise

    Since his skilled profession started a little bit over a 12 months 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 loopy, however that’s how the sport goes,” McClung stated in an episode of “The Break,” an authentic sequence produced by the G League. “If I bought 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 commonly a curler coaster. And even for a former highschool celebrity and social media sensation like McClung, the highlight doesn’t shine very vibrant 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 the primary 13 video games of the season earlier than being known as up by the Chicago Bulls in mid-December. A whole bunch 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 12 months in the past (2 factors in 3 minutes towards 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 recognized for his jaw-dropping dunks, the 23-year-old has proven his versatility as a professional. Again 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 Yr award (earlier winners embrace Paul Reed, Quinn Cook dinner, 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 type of signature jaw-dropping dunks…

    Regardless of a profitable, albeit hectic, rookie 12 months, and a formidable exhibiting at 2022 Summer time League, McClung didn’t make a gap day roster. He turned down million-dollar affords from golf equipment abroad, as a substitute opting to rejoin the G League and preserve 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 supplied a much-needed scoring prompt the bench; on others, he’s been the Blue Coats’ main playmaker, working the offense and facilitating for his teammates.

    SLAM caught up with McClung throughout the latest 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 % taking pictures), 7 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals.

    SLAM: What was your mindset heading into the Showcase? 

    Mac McClung: Simply to take advantage of no matter my function is for the group. We received, 2-0, that’s at all times nice. Want we had been within the winner’s bracket. However yeah, simply take advantage of it. Present that I can slot in in any scenario.

    SLAM: How are you a unique participant this season in comparison with final season?

    MM: I believe I simply grew to become higher at adapting to conditions. I really feel like if you happen to’ve seen this 12 months, I’ve performed a number of totally different roles for this group. And I really feel like I’ve been a optimistic affect in every and hopefully folks discover that and see that I can adapt to any scenario. 

    SLAM: Is there something particular that you just labored on this summer time?

    MM: Actually simply movie work on persistence. When your minutes get lower or one thing, folks usually need to power issues. I type of realized to [hold] that again and in addition simply play the sport the suitable means it doesn’t matter what the scenario is, which sounds straightforward nevertheless it’s more durable than it sounds.

    SLAM: Are you able to sum up what this previous 12 months 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, if you happen to let or not it’s. That’s one factor I used to be speaking to my dad and mom about. For those who let success decide your happiness, it’ll simply be a rollercoaster, as a substitute of simply shopping for into every day and the method. That’s one factor I’ve finished. And I’m doing what I really like every single day. Me getting higher each single day is my objective—not [moving] up and down [from the NBA]. So when I’ve that point, hopefully I can seize it. 

    SLAM: Any particular moments that encapsulate simply how chaotic final season was for you?

    MM: For those who have a look at the entire scenario, I’ve modified a number of groups. Different groups picked me up. Right here, in [Las Vegas] Summer time 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’ll be able to. I can’t management what group I’m taking part in on or if somebody needs to offer me a chance. I simply at all times keep prepared.

    SLAM: Are you able to describe your thought course of while you had been deciding whether or not to rejoin the G League or signal with a group abroad?

    MM: I’ll shout out my greatest good friend, Zac Ervin. I used to be provided fairly a bit of cash to go abroad—like, in all probability I may change my life with that cash. I at all times inform myself I’m going to stay it by till I make it [to the NBA], as a result of I imagine in myself. And also you get provided that stuff and also you’re like, Oh, man. That adjustments. However my boy Zac was like, “Man, that’s not who you might be.” As a result of we labored out every single day from seventh grade to senior 12 months. Each single day. He was like, “Man, you weren’t within the health club for that.” So I’m like, Rattling, that’s not who I’m. Let me get it whereas I’m right here. 

    SLAM: How was your temporary expertise within the NBA final 12 months useful? What did you’re taking away from it?

    MM: It’s good simply seeing it and studying. I believe that’s the most important factor—expertise. In relation to rising, folks discuss, you’ll be able to work on sure issues, however expertise is so worthwhile, man. Being there earlier than is efficacious. I bought to the touch the NBA a little bit bit and I bought these nerves out, these jitters, and I bought to see what it’s about. And I’m prepared at any time when my subsequent alternative comes. 

    SLAM: What are you able to present an NBA group proper now? 

    MM: A number of issues—that’s what I’m making an attempt to indicate. I’m numerous. For those who want me to come back and be a degree guard off the bench and get others concerned, I can try this. For those who 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.

    SLAM: What’s the most important false impression about your recreation? 

    MM: Once I was in school, I wasn’t a lot of a degree guard. However I believe if you happen to watch these video games, I actually get my teammates concerned.

    SLAM: What’s the most important false impression about life within the G League?

    MM: Folks simply don’t perceive how lonely it’s, I don’t assume. It’s not straightforward. Andre Ingram instructed me, “Each 5 days, one thing adjustments.” Within the G League, one thing is altering each 5 days.

    SLAM: What are your total objectives for this season?

    MM: Simply to continue to grow every day, man. I need to play within the NBA. I imagine I’m an NBA participant. However that may come after I preserve engaged on every day, making an attempt to develop every day. 

    Photographs through Getty Pictures.

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