OKC Thunder: 10 things to know about Mike Muscala
The Thunder is adding center Mike Muscala to its roster. The 28-year-old center played five seasons with the Hawks, then spent last season with the Sixers and Lakers.
Here are 10 things that maybe you didn’t know about Muscala:
1. Muscala and Thunder point guard Dennis Schroder spent 4-1/2 seasons together with the Atlanta Hawks.
Those were good seasons for the Hawks. In between a 38-44 record in 2013-14 and a tear-it-down record of 24-58 in 2017-18, the Hawks went 60-22, 48-34 and 43-39 with Schroder and Muscala on the roster. They won three playoff series and reached the 2015 East finals.
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2. Muscala and Schroder weren’t necessarily good together, though they shared a lot of court minutes. In those five seasons, Muscala and Schroder played 1,444 minutes together. But their point differential with opponents was not good.
Per 48 minutes with Muscala and Schroder on the court together, the Hawks were outscored by 30.9 points in 2013-14, 6.7 points in 2016-17 and 7.5 points in in 2017-18. In 2014-15, the Hawks’ big year, with Schroder and Muscala on the court together, Atlanta outscored opponents by 4.3 points per 48 minutes. The next year, it was a positive 0.3.
3. Muscala played four years at Bucknell and left as the Patriot League school’s all-time leading scorer.
4. Muscala played in two NCAA Tournament games for Bucknell. In 2011, the Bison lost to Connecticut 81-52. Muscala had 14 points and four rebounds, making five of 12 shots. In 2013, the Bison lost to Butler 68-56. Muscala had nine points and 10 rebounds but made just four of 17 shots.
5. Muscala’s NBA 3-point shooting has been up and down. He made 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers in 2014-15, then fell to 30.8 percent in 2015-16, rose to 41.8 percent in 2016-17 and now has made 37.1 and 34.8 percent the last two years.
6. Muscala’s corner 3-pointers are puzzling. Through five seasons in Atlanta, Muscala took 32.6 percent of his 3-pointers from the corner and made 44.1 percent from there. Then this past season, with the Sixers and Lakers, Muscala took only 19.1 percent of his long balls from the corner and made just 30.6 percent. Strange.
7. Muscala has been playing less and less at center. His first and third seasons in Atlanta, Muscala spent an estimated 79 and 95 percent of his minutes at center. But that figure dipped to 73 percent in 2016-17, then 52 percent in 2017-18 and 37 percent last season. If the Thunder has Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel, it would seem that power forward would be Muscala’s quickest ticket to playing time.
8. Muscala was drafted in the second round by Dallas in 2013, then immediately traded to Atlanta. But Muscala signed with Rio Natura Monbus Obradoiro of the Liga ACB. In that European league, Muscala averaged 14.6 points and 7.8 rebounds in 25 games. He then got out of his contract and signed with the Hawks.
9. Muscala helped make the Schroder/Carmelo Anthony trade work. The Hawks sent Schroder to the Thunder and Muscala to the 76ers, the Thunder sent Carmelo and a 2022 first-round pick to Atlanta, and the Sixers sent Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to the Thunder and Justin Anderson to the Hawks.
10. Muscala has played 255 playoff minutes, over 27 games. He’s averaged 9.4 minutes and 3.1 points. Muscala’s best series was the 2015 East semifinals, when Atlanta beat the Wizards in six games. Muscala played the final five games and averaged 11.8 minutes, 5.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and shot 60 percent from the field, including 33.3 percent from 3-point range.