Around these parts, the name Mac McClung is received in various ways. Many fans of the Georgetown Hoyas may hold on to a little resentment in how McClung left the program, but most have let bygones be bygones and are rooting for the Gate City guard to find a steady home in the NBA. This NBA All-Star Weekend, the world will be reacquainted with Mac McClung as he participates in the G-League Next up Game, the Rising Stars Challenge, and the NBA Dunk Contest. The comparisons to Allen Iverson will always remain, but McClung is finding carving out his own path.
Mac McClung has a busy itinerary next weekend in Salt Lake City— BristolSports (@BHCSports) February 10, 2023
Feb. 17: Rising Stars Challenge
Feb. 18: NBA Slam Dunk Contest
Feb. 19: G League Next Up All-Star Gamehttps://t.co/OhdhWOjg0K pic.twitter.com/TMAmvhFEfZ
This season McClung has been playing for the Delaware Blue Coats, the Philadelphia 76ers G-League affiliate. The 76ers signed McClung after he played in the NBA Summer League with the Golden State Warriors.
Last season, McClung spent much of the season on a two-way deal with the Lakers. He was named G League Rookie of the Year and also played two games in the NBA. McClung has 8 points in the league, with 25 total minutes split between a game apiece with the Chicago Bulls and the Lakers.
Ahead of this All-Star weekend, the Sixers announced that McClung has been named a two-way player for the franchise. Philadelphia can have him up in the big league for a maximum of 45 days as the de facto 16th player on the roster. Two-way contracts can pay up to $508,891 for the entire 2022-23 season, pro-rated based on the in-season signing date. The goal for a two-way player is still to make the full-time roster for an NBA team.
Mac McClung has a chance to turn some more heads this weekend. While McClung generally needs to demonstrate that he can do more at the professional level than just score in order to secure an NBA contract, this weekend is not about a true tryout.
This weekend in Salt Lake City, McClung needs to be his shining self with acrobatic dunks, flashy no-look passes, and his ability to get buckets. Best of luck, Mac.
Here are some links:
On Valentine’s Day, the Philadelphia 76ers announced the signing of guard Mac McClung on a two-way NBA contract.
As a result, the Sixers have announced they are waiving wing Julian Champagnie to open a roster spot.
McClung is on Philadelphia’s G League Delaware Blue Coats affiliate team, but he received the deal after accepting an invitation to the 2023 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
On top of that, McClung was named to the Jordan Rising Stars Game and G League Next Up Game. Needless to say, it is going to be an incredible experience for the young guard.
This is history in the making as McClung is the first G League player to compete in the Slam Dunk Contest.
Mac McClung has accepted an invitation to compete in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. He will be the first G League player to compete in the dunk contest. Last night he showed his versatility scoring 28 PTS (10-13 FG, 1-3 3PT, 5-5 FT), 7 AST, four REB and two STL in 28 MIN in a win pic.twitter.com/ya20BABqZN— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 13, 2023
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Philadelphia 76ers “plan to sign” Mac McClung to a two-way contract. As a result, they will also waive Julian Champagnie.
Slated to participate in the Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend, McClung has made 36 appearances for the Delaware Blue Coats this season. In 18 Showcase Cup games, including nine starts, the 24-year-old guard is averaging 17.4 points (55.2 percent true shooting), 5.8 assists and 4.6 rebounds. In 18 regular season contests (16 starts), he’s averaging 19.1 points (75 percent true shooting), 4.7 assists and 2.7 rebounds.
“He’s been enjoyable to coach,” Blue Coats head coach Coby Karl told NBC Sports Philadelphia last month. “I think sometimes he’s hard-headed. I was hard-headed as a player, so I get it, and I think that’s what makes him good. He’s competitive. He wants to be really good and he wants it now.
“But my favorite part about coaching him this year is a lot of things we’ve asked him to do aren’t easy things, and he’s made strides. He’s grown in a lot of those areas, and to me growth is the No. 1, most important thing at this level. I think he’s guarding the ball better. He’s making an impact in the pick-and-roll. He’s giving a good effort in those areas, and then he’s trying to get his teammates involved early in possessions and using his skills and his athleticism to help his teammates.”
“You know, I think sometimes I forget people are paying attention to what I do,” McClung said in December. “I think I’m just in my own mode. It’s funny, I noticed when I got cut from the Warriors, I just expected it to be the same thing – a couple of hate messages and all that – but it was so overwhelming, the support. You’re right there. Don’t quit. I’m like you’ve been paying attention to all of this? I watched this G League game, this G League season. I’m like oh my goodness, people are following me, that’s incredible.”
McClung played collegiately at Georgetown and then Texas Tech, where he received 2020-21 All-Big 12 Second Team honors...
Fast forward five years and it’s 10 minutes from tipoff at Chase Fieldhouse in Wilmington, Delaware. The Blue Coats are hosting the Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s G League affiliate, in an afternoon contest on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Athletic and Stadium’s Shams Charania tweeted about McClung’s dunk-contest participation three days prior and the news continued to make waves, amassing nearly 8 million views and 24.5K likes.
Mac is always on the ATTACK! Check out high-flying @blue_coats guard Mac McClung's (@McclungMac) best plays of the season before #NBAAllStar#JordanRisingStars #GLeagueNextUpGame pic.twitter.com/wVAMW5CF11— NBA G League (@nbagleague) February 10, 2023
McClung is averaging 18.3 points, 5.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 36 total games this season with the Delaware Blue Coats, Philadelphia’s G League affiliate.
“His 3-point shooting has really impressed me, particularly since the G League regular season began,” said Matt Murphy, play-by-play man for Blue Coats’ broadcasts. “Almost 20 games in and he’s hitting 50 percent of his 3s, which is good for a top-five ranking in the league.”
A two-way contract allows players to shuttle between both the NBA (where they have a guaranteed roster spot) and the G League.
Over the past two years, Mac McClung has played for 10 head coaches.— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) February 15, 2023
Steve Kerr is one of them, @rich_hofmann writes.
The Warriors head coach became familiar with McClung’s game in summer league and training camp last summer.https://t.co/HY2AfmjsW4 pic.twitter.com/aYMN6Fm3Bl
McClung has a busy weekend ahead of him in Salt Lake City. He will play in the Rising Stars game on Friday night on a team full of G-Leaguers. Then it’s on to the dunk contest on All-Star Saturday Night. And McClung will finish his weekend at the G League All-Star Game on Sunday.
The weekend ... also will be a departure from what McClung has been doing over the past two seasons, playing in relative obscurity in gyms across the country and even abroad. The dunk contest preparation has served as “kind of a distraction of all the steady grind of the G League,” McClung says.
That grind paid off this week. The Philadelphia 76ers signed McClung to a two-way contract, which is essentially the middle ground between a normal NBA contract and a G League deal. NBA teams are allowed to have two such contracts on their roster at any one time. Most importantly for McClung, it means he now can be called up by the Sixers.
“It’s a process,” McClung said. “We all have egos, we all like our egos to be fed. I think it’s something I’ve really been a lot better with I think since my pro career started because this game will humble you.”
McClung has now played almost two seasons in the G-League, for three different teams, but this year he seems to have found a home with the Delaware Blue Coats. He is averaging 19.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game in 26 minutes. What is most impressive though are his shooting percentages. He is shooting 57.6% from the field and 50% from three-point range.
I imagine the impressive shooting growth is a primary reason the Sixers are signing McClung to the two-way contract. Both of his aforementioned shooting percentages are 10+ percentage point increases from the year before! That is unheard of; McClung must have been putting in work this past off-season.
It has finally paid off and McClung will be getting another chance at his NBA dream. He will be joining a Sixers team with depth at the wing position. Combine that depth with Doc Rivers’ preference to play veterans over young players and I doubt McClung will play any meaningful minutes for the team this year. Only time will tell, but we will get to see McClung this weekend compete in the NBA All-Star weekend Dunk Contest.
In order to appreciate the Dunk Contest, it helps to understand the move it revolves around. The dunk’s official origins are murky: The word “dunk” was used as early as 1935 to describe a shooting movement that may or may not have been the shot as we know it today.
Wherever it started, by the 1940s it began to draw ire from critics who claimed that it was diminishing the value of more traditional shooting, and the tenets of accuracy and passing. When dominant college athletes like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) added it to their repertoire, criticism of the dunk often had racial undertones (or overtones, retrospectively).
In 1967, the N.C.A.A. banned the dunk, and during the nine-year period that the move was outlawed, the directive was known as “the Lew Alcindor rule.” At the pro level, the shot became more prominent. The American Basketball Association held the first official dunk contest in 1976 to sell more tickets and show off its talent, and by the early ’80s, the N.B.A. began using special rims that accommodated dunking.
The 24-year-old has been a favorite of the mixtape circuit since he was a Virginia high-schooler. Listed at 6-2 with a 43½-inch vertical leap, McClung packs a Spud Webb-like explosiveness into his double-clutch efforts and alley-oop finishes. McClung’s rare physical profile hasn’t translated to NBA success; he went undrafted in 2021 after spending two seasons at Georgetown and one at Texas Tech. Last season, he made appearances for the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, but he had spent this year in the G League before signing a two-way contract with the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.
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Don’t dismiss McClung’s chances in the contest because of his limited résumé. His hops have made him a fan favorite at the Las Vegas Summer League, and he carries himself with the type of brash confidence that appeals to judges and a live audience.
I got the chance to attend the Blue Coats’ recent game against the Wisconsin Herd and watch McClung. The kid is gifted offensively. The offense runs through him and it’s truly difficult to defend him. He’s a knockdown shooter from deep but he can also use his jumping ability at the height of 6’2” to finish among the big guys. When he’s not scoring, Mac is a great passer and often finds open teammates for easy points. His impact isn’t limited to the offensive end; his athleticism allows him to jump passing lanes for steals as well as disrupt shots at the rim.
I then asked him if he had anything planned for the Dunk Contest or anything dunks that he may want to try:
“I’m just going to try and be creative,” McClung said, “I’ve been working with Chuck [Millan] at Team Flight Brothers, just trying to do some dunks that haven’t been done before and that I know I can make, hopefully.”
Look for him to attempt one of the hardest dunks, a double east bay, something that Chuck Millan has been working on with his guys for a while...
Georgetown's Mac McClung dropped 38 PTS in 38 minutes pic.twitter.com/3rCUVA1Qbf— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 23, 2018