Upon return to Wizards, Mack sees the point of his release

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Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

His growth in NBA Development League impressed Wittman

The difference was 40 minutes a night.

Shelvin Mack never had the chance to play that much in his first stint with the Wizards. But after proving over the course of 10 games in the NBA Development League with the Maine Red Claws that he could, his former team -- now more desperate than they were when they cut him at the end of the preseason -- is ready to hand him the reins.

The Wizards (3-22) welcomed the second-year point guard and fellow D-League guard Garrett Temple on Tuesday. With Cleveland (6-23) arriving Wednesday, coach Randy Wittman promised to "throw them to the wolves right away."

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Mack, who has been making the transition from scoring guard at Butler to point guard in the NBA, understood that the Wizards had a preference for the experience of Jannero Pargo at the end of preseason. He also knew that the freedom to play through his mistakes in the D-League was what allowed him to average 20.2 points, 7.1 assists and 5.0 rebounds for the Red Claws.

"Being able to go there, playing 40-plus minutes, trying to figure things out as a point guard, making one mistake and trying not to make the same mistake again," Mack said. "I feel like that's helping me big time with my game and my development as a point guard."

The 22-year-old canceled a scheduled workout with the Boston Celtics to return a team that was familiar to him.

"I wouldn't say I was hoping it would be someone else," Mack said. "I was just hoping a call would come soon."

Wittman told Mack the reason he brought him back to Washington was because of his growth, not because he had been with the team before.

"He's a good kid, and I wanted to see how he'd react," Wittman said. "It's tough when you're a last cut to accept [it], and I really wanted to see how he would respond to it, and that told me a lot about him. As I said, that's one of the reasons why he's back."

Temple, 26, received his first December call after representing five different teams (Houston, Sacramento, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Charlotte) previously on 10-day contracts. The 6-foot-5 LSU product averaged 14.7 points, 5.8 assists and 4.7 rebounds for the Reno Bighorns.

The Wizards are still without injured A.J. Price (broken right hand) and John Wall (left knee), who went through a solid individual workout Sunday that involved "cutting, running, changing directions and lateral movements," Wittman said. They also need Jordan Crawford to focus primarily on scoring.

"I thought with where we were at, we really started getting broken down there at the point with the different guys that we had faced with Shaun [Livingston] and JC," Wittman said.

Mack said he still has chemistry with his Washington teammates.

"I feel like I'm guy that can get everyone on the same page," Mack said. "I can relate to each guy different. I know certain guys like to be talked to a certain way. I can talk to them in a way that can help us get the job done."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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Craig Stouffer

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner