After going undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft, Mac McClung had an absolute whirlwind of a first season as a professional. McClung was part of the Los Angeles Lakers Summer League team and was in training camp before being waived and signing with the G-League affiliate, South Bay Lakers.
The vast majority of McClung’s rookie season was spent in South Bay where he absolutely shined. McClung averaged 21.1 points, 7.5 assists, 6.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 33 contests with the South Bay Lakers. His play earned him G-League Rookie of the Year honors as well as a spot on the G-League All-Rookie First Team.
Overall, McClung showed off a much improved all-around game from his college days where he was primarily a scorer. In South Bay, McClung showed off his playmaking ability, as well as being able to affect the game on the glass and defensively.
McClung did receive a pair of 10-day contracts with the Chicago Bulls in the middle of the season as the league struggled with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that saw many players enter the league’s health and safety protocols. He would ultimately find himself back in South Bay, but his play was so outstanding that the Lakers would reward him with a two-way contract just before the end of the season.
McClung was then called up to the main club just before the team’s season finale against the Denver Nuggets and he would have himself a solid outing with six points and three rebounds in 22 minutes in the Lakers’ dramatic come from behind overtime victory.
From a professional standpoint, it could certainly be argued that the highlight of the year for McClung was receiving that two-way contract from the Lakers as it does make him an official member of the roster. But in terms of on the court, there is no doubt that McClung’s game-ending slam dunk against the Nuggets was a highlight not just for McClung, but the Lakers as a whole.
McClung got loose on an out-of-bounds play and would find himself ahead of the pack, throwing down an absolutely beautiful double-pump reverse dunk that served as the final play of the season for the Lakers.
The terms of McClung’s two-way contract were unclear, but the guard will surely be part of the Lakers’ Summer League team and likely be in training camp again, allowing them to get another close look at him and what he could potentially bring to the main team.
If he continues to develop and has a good showing, perhaps McClung could find himself in the Austin Reaves position of having his two-way converted into a standard contract. More likely, however, is that McClung stays as a two-way player and gets some call-ups to the main roster throughout the year, much in the same way the team employed Alex Caruso years ago.
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