Because his professional career began a small over a yr ago, Mac McClung has lived in 5 different metropolitan areas and performed for 6 different teams. He’s jumped from one coastline to the other, from the G League to the NBA, from a starter to a backup.
“It’s been mad, but that’s how the sport goes,” McClung claimed in an episode of “The Split,” an unique sequence developed by the G League. “If I received to enjoy for all 30 [teams] to make it, I’m likely to enjoy for all 30.”
Life on the fringes of the NBA is frequently a roller coaster. And even for a former large college celebrity and social media sensation like McClung, the spotlight does not shine really vibrant in the G. However, the 6-2 guard out of Texas Tech has quietly been earning huge strides.
Soon after likely undrafted in 2021, McClung inevitably 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 through the very first 13 online games of the year prior to getting termed up by the Chicago Bulls in mid-December. Hundreds of gamers entered COVID-19 protocols that month, which led to an unprecedented amount of alternatives for G Leaguers. McClung signed a 10-day agreement with the Bulls and designed his NBA debut almost precisely a calendar year in the past (2 details in 3 minutes in opposition to the Hawks). Chicago gave him a next 10-working day, but McClung did not acquire any much more playing time, and returned to the South Bay Lakers in January.
Initially regarded for his jaw-dropping dunks, the 23-yr-aged has revealed his flexibility as a pro. Back with South Bay, he averaged 21.6 factors, 7.5 helps, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.5 steals, profitable the 2021-22 Kia NBA G League Rookie Year award (earlier winners contain Paul Reed, Quinn Cook, Tim Frazier, and Robert Covington). In April, Los Angeles rewarded McClung with a two-way contract and brought him up for the closing sport of the regular season. He capped a stable overall performance (and a Lakers victory) that night with 1 of those people signature jaw-dropping dunks…
Regardless of a effective, albeit hectic, rookie yr, and an extraordinary displaying at 2022 Summer season League, McClung did not make an opening working day roster. He turned down million-greenback features from clubs overseas, as an alternative opting to rejoin the G League and continue to keep chasing his NBA desire. As a member of the Delaware Blue Coats, the affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, McClung has thrived in a variety of roles this year. He dropped a vocation-large 44 details in November and notched his next occupation triple-double (21 details, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) shortly right after. On some nights, he’s provided a a great deal-required scoring spark off the bench on some others, he’s been the Blue Coats’ principal playmaker, functioning the offense and facilitating for his teammates.
SLAM caught up with McClung throughout the current G League Winter season Showcase in Las Vegas. Delaware won each of their game titles at the once-a-year scouting function, with McClung averaging 12.5 details (on 59 p.c taking pictures), 7 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals.
SLAM: What was your state of mind heading into the Showcase?
Mac McClung: Just to make the most of what ever my job is for the group. We gained, 2-, that is often fantastic. Would like we have been in the winner’s bracket. But yeah, just make the most of it. Display that I can suit in in any circumstance.
SLAM: How are you a various player this time as opposed to past year?
MM: I consider I just grew to become superior at adapting to scenarios. I feel like if you’ve found this year, I’ve played various different roles for this workforce. And I experience like I’ve been a optimistic impact in each and every and with any luck , folks see that and observe that I can adapt to any circumstance.
SLAM: Is there everything precise that you worked on this summertime?
MM: Genuinely just movie perform on endurance. When your minutes get cut or one thing, people generally want to drive things. I sort of uncovered to [hold] that back again and also just enjoy the game the proper way no issue what the problem is, which appears effortless but it’s harder than it seems.
SLAM: Can you sum up what this past 12 months has been like for you, with all the movement up and down and to different groups/towns?
MM: It’s been a rollercoaster, if you permit it be. That’s a single matter I was conversing to my dad and mom about. If you let achievements figure out your joy, it’ll just be a rollercoaster, as an alternative of just acquiring into each working day and the system. That’s 1 matter I have performed. And I’m carrying out what I like each individual working day. Me acquiring improved every single one day is my goal—not [moving] up and down [from the NBA]. So when I have that time, ideally I can capture it.
SLAM: Any unique times that encapsulate just how chaotic past period was for you?
MM: If you glance at the full problem, I’ve modified numerous groups. Other teams picked me up. Here, in [Las Vegas] Summer League, I finished up with the Warriors, when I begun with the Lakers. It’s just becoming capable to adapt, man. That’s just the League. You have got to control what you can. I just can’t handle what workforce I’m playing on or if a person wants to give me an possibility. I just generally continue to be prepared.
SLAM: Can you describe your imagined course of action when you ended up determining whether or not to rejoin the G League or indicator with a group overseas?
MM: I’ll shout out my ideal good friend, Zac Ervin. I was offered very a little bit of income to go overseas—like, most likely I could modify my lifestyle with that funds. I generally explain to myself I’m going to stick it by way of till I make it [to the NBA], simply because I believe in myself. And you get available that stuff and you’re like, Oh, gentleman. That changes. But my boy Zac was like, “Man, that’s not who you are.” Simply because we labored out every single working day from seventh grade to senior yr. Each and every one day. He was like, “Man, you weren’t in the fitness center for that.” So I’m like, Damn, that’s not who I am. Permit me get it when I’m below.
SLAM: How was your brief experience in the NBA past yr beneficial? What did you just take away from it?
MM: It is fantastic just looking at it and learning. I think which is the largest thing—experience. When it comes to growing, people converse about, you can do the job on sure things, but working experience is so valuable, man. Getting there ahead of is valuable. I bought to contact the NBA a little little bit and I got these nerves out, those jitters, and I got to see what it’s about. And I’m completely ready every time my subsequent prospect arrives.
SLAM: What can you deliver an NBA workforce right now?
MM: Multiple things—that’s what I’m making an attempt to display. I’m varied. If you have to have me to appear and be a place guard off the bench and get other people involved, I can do that. If you need to have me to score, I can score. I’m heading to be active—I’m going to be rebounding, diving on the flooring, just [providing] vitality in any way you want me to.
SLAM: What is the major misconception about your recreation?
MM: When I was in school, I wasn’t a lot of a point guard. But I consider if you check out these video games, I truly get my teammates concerned.
SLAM: What’s the major misunderstanding about everyday living in the G League?
MM: Individuals just really don’t recognize how lonely it is, I do not consider. It’s not easy. Andre Ingram told me, “Every 5 times, a thing alterations.” In the G League, one thing is altering each and every five times.
SLAM: What are your overall ambitions for this year?
MM: Just to retain developing each individual working day, guy. I want to participate in in the NBA. I consider I’m an NBA participant. But that will occur when I maintain doing work on every single working day, making an attempt to improve each working day.
Images through Getty Images.