Mack positively on point

Mack positively on point
October 9, 2012, 7:52 pm
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After all that went on this past offseason, nobody could blame Shelvin Mack if his usual upbeat demeanor turned sour.

By his own admission the rising second-year point guard's summer league experience "didn't go the way I planned."

Days later after that Las Vegas experience, the Wizards decided not to roll the dice with only Mack and John Wall directing the offense and added A.J. Price. Once Washington learned Wall would miss two months with an injury, another veteran, Jannero Pargo, joined the mix. Suddenly Mack's role appeared uncertain, perhaps his roster spot as well.

That's why most would understand if Mack showed up to training camp down and dejected.

One look at the former Butler University star's Twitter account would let you know that's just not his style.

Not the most prolific of tweeters, Mack's timeline is peppered with the simple message "Think positive." His most recent sunny side up tweet went out to his followers the morning of the Wizards final day of practice at George Mason University. Just don't think the 22-year-old is one of those naive types who doesn't grasp the adult world he now occupies.

"It's a business. Have to stay positive. Every year someone's coming in the NBA, someone's going out," Mack said. "Same thing with the Miami Heat. They got some new players this year even though they won the championship last year. You try and get better. They feel like guys coming in are making the team better that's what we need for our team."

Plus, as the Wizards have harshly learned before even opening training camp, injuries do occur, which leads to opportunity for those prepared to grab it.

"Something is going to happen, like John getting hurt," Mack. "We didn't want that to happen, but it did so it provides an opportunity. Just staying positive, you have the best chance to take advantage of the opportunity instead of staying negative. When you're down, you're not ready for the opportunity and it slips by."

One early opportunity came Sunday in Charlotte. With Wall and Pargo sidelined, the point guard responsibilities fell to Mack and Price, who was part of a starting unit that struggled mightily offensively. Playing with the second unit, Mack doled out seven assists. He did so with nary a turnover. The rest of the team coughed the ball up 20 times.

"You can tell hes got a year under him," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "I can see a little more confidence. Definitive running this play, running that play. Thats from being here, I think. Thats a good thing to see."

Mack definitively running this, that or any play was not always the case during the games in Vegas where charitably it could be said his transition from playing off to on the ball remained a work in progress. Not allowing memories of those games to linger, Mack stuck around in Las Vegas where he participated in long time NBA assistant coach Tim Grgurich's skills camp - and where he put himself back on a positive path.

"It helped me out a lot," Mack said. "Summer league didn't go the way I planned. Two weeks later, I had a chance to play against another level of NBA talent at the Grgurich camp. I played well out there. They did a good job of breaking down the point guard position, helped me with the little things. Little pocket passes, just taking care of the ball. I carried it on over to the preseason when we got here in September. I've continued to build on it."

As for where he picked up his half-glass full outlook, Mack says "in college with (Butler) Coach (Brad) Stevens. He comes with a positive attitude every day. It builds, it makes everyone around you happy. If you're thinking positive, the next guy will think positive. If you're like "oh why did I miss that shot", they're going to think the same thing when they have the opportunity."

Considering the Wizards doom and gloom play in recent years, keeping around those who know how to turn frowns upside down might be wise. Considering the Wizards point guard concerns with Wall out of the lineup for the season's opening month, having this decisive version of Shelvin Mack around might not be so bad either.