Maybe I just spend too much time with basketball people (or on Twitter), but there’s a phrase I often hear nowadays: “He’s a bucket”.
Now if someone called me a bucket, it would probably because I’m filling one with chicken wing bones on a football Sunday. But in the basketball sense, calling someone a bucket or even a “walking bucket” means only one thing: They know how to fill it up.
Mid-range, three-pointer, driving layup, fadeaway layup, reverse, bank shot, hook shot, heave shot… it don’t matter. Some people just seem to have a next-level knack for putting the ball in the basket.
Sheldon Mac is one of those people.
Charge fans saw it in person throughout the 2019-20 season when Mac was one of seven players on the team to average double-digit points. Those numbers added up in bunches when he would come and take over games late in the second half and hit game winning daggers.
The 2021 bubble season in Orlando was no different, with Sheldon elevating his role with the team and raising his level of play. He relished the role of a “closer” for Canton, taking the first half to engrain himself in the game plan and team play with the ball in his hands before shifting to an unstoppable force headed towards the rim in the latter half of the game. This was on full display in the second game and first win against Greensboro.
Mac had 19 of his 23 points in the second half, including 11 in the fourth quarter, using an array of unstoppable moves. Jab-stepping, weaving, double team-splitting, one-legged, spinning or off balanced, he was doing a little bit of everything and whatever it took to get the ball in the hole. This is the essence of Sheldon Mac.
Now with the reputation sometimes comes the stereotypes of being selfish or one dimensional. These are things that Mac is not. He was third on the team in assists per game and tied for fourth in steals. Mac would often handle the ball at the PG position but also was versatile enough to run the SG or SF positions.
While players called up to the NBA are rarely, if ever, asked to be the focal point of a team’s offense, it’s still a viably important skill in an end of the bench player. While NBA teams rest their stars during games and manage workloads overall, it’s increasingly more important to have a reserve unit that can ether maintain a lead that starters built and/or keep the team in the game when needed to hold the line. Mac’s size & skillset is ideal for an NBA bench unit, it’s just a matter of getting the opportunity.
If not, there surely will be plenty of opportunities in lucrative leagues overseas. I’m pretty sure in the internet day and age, “buckets” translates in just about any language.