Happy Friday all. It's your friend Ross Bernhardt. I hope everyone was able to stay dry, because it was raining cats and dogs yesterday. Not literally, but figuratively. That's a saying, and isn't meant to be taken seriously. Now that I've alienated most of you, it's time to look at another prospect. On Wednesday, the Knicks worked out a bunch of guys, one of them being guard Tu Holloway. He isn't the natural point guard/athlete that many of us wish to be taken with our 48th selection. Our next prospect, Scott Machado, is one of the most natural point guards in the draft. Let's see if he's a good fit after the jump.
UPDATE We have a name thanks to @travelcheaply2: Michael Scott (!!!!!) Machado
(couldn't find a middle name) was another four-year collegian who played for the Iona Gaels, and came in and started right as a freshman. In his four years, Machado started 125 out of a possible 132 games. A Queens/St. Benedict's (NJ) product, Machado established himself as one of the best passing point guards in the country. Machado helped Iona's offense become one of the country's top units, and he was the leader on the court. He possesses incredible court vision and is a great decision-maker with the ball in his hands, and has a knack for finding the open man while putting him in a great position to score. His Iona team only made the NCAA Tournament in his senior year (since Siena decided it was tired of ruling the MAAC) and his Gaels squad suffered a monumental collapse. He was noticeably absent from this year's Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, reserved for the best college seniors in the draft, and his stock seems to have dropped since then. But he will be at the NBA Draft Combine with a chance to prove his mettle.
Measurements: 6' w/o shoes, 6'1.75" w/shoes, 205 pounds, 6'3" wingspan, 12.0 in the agility drill (worse than Holloway) but Machado is faster in the open court.
Projected Draft Position (as of right now): 49 at Draft Express, 54 at NBADraft.net, 51 at Pro Basketball Draft.
Amateur Take - Offense: With Machado, it's all about the passing. Machado has been an assist machine at Iona, racking up over 100 his first two seasons, over 200 in his junior year, and over 300 last season. As a junior, he led the nation in total assists. As a senior, he led the nation in assists per game. Machado knows how to distribute the basketball and get his teammates good looks. He happened to do so in an incredibly fast-paced offense, and is especially adept at getting out on the break and finding guys in transition.
In the half court, Machado isn't as effective, but still can get the job done. He has a strong frame, which he can use to work himself into the lane without the athleticism many point guards have. Machado improved his shooting drastically in his senior year compared to his junior year (49.5% overall to 41%, 40.4% from three to 32%) which could be attributed to his better shot selection this year. He's not much of a scorer (13.6 PPG) but he did when called upon. Without the ball, though, he can tend to disappear sometimes. He can't really create looks for himself, but he can handle ball pressure very well and operate the offense.
Amateur Take - Defense: Machado isn't nearly as effective on defense. His athletic liabilities and his size can limit him on that end of the court. Iona played a lot of zone, and Machado never really had to defend man-to-man. He will have difficulty checking NBA point guards in the league, even though he has decent hands on defense (1.6 steals a game as a senior).
From the Scouts: An excerpt on Machado's defense from the Draft Express profile linked above:
Defensively is where scouts will likely have their biggest questions marks with Machado. Iona mixes up its defenses quite a bit, with some pressing and some zone, so Machado hasn't had to play as much half-court man-to-man. In what we could see, however, he looks like he has some work to do to defend point guards at the NBA level. His lateral quickness looks mediocre, he's a bit on the smaller side, and he's been beaten off the dribble badly on a few occasions and also has done a poor job fighting through screens. Some of this could be correctable and some could be a result of the system he's in, but this will likely be an area that NBA teams will want to get a better gauge of as they assess his potential at the next level.
Comparison: NBADraft.net listed former St. John's point guard Omar Cook as a comparison. So there's that.
Random Red Flag(s): Machado was able to stockpile all of these gaudy numbers playing in the MAAC, which isn't the most highly competitive league. He also did it in an open system that accentuated his excellent passing skills in transition. His decision not to attend the PIT and play against the top seniors in the country also seems peculiar.
The Clyde Factor: I think Clyde could have a lot of fun with Scott Machado. I could conceive "Merchardo" or "Machardo" of "Machamp". If he sticks with a "MER" beginning, that could lead to a "Merchant" nickname, as in "Machado: the Merchant of Assists." I'm sure Clyde would rhyme Machado with aficionado at some point as well.
- Seth linked to this yesterday, but here's Adam Zagoria's recent interview with Machado.
- He played on the same high school team as Danny Green, and I hear that kid is doing pretty well now.
- From this NY Times article, apparently Machado's court vision doesn't mean he has great eyesight.
- From the same article, before his senior season, Machado went to Brazil between his junior/senior seasons and got himself in great shape. How much do plane tickets to Brazil cost? I'm asking for a friend...
- Another addition, again from @travelcheaply2, is the reason why Machado goes by Scott and not Michael. It's awesome.
Let's Get Reel:
Core Focus Workouts: Scott Machado Pre Draft Workout Highlights (via CoreFocusInc)
Scott Machado Highlights - NBA Draft Insider (via nbadraftinsider)
Pay close attention or you'll miss this one: Scott Machado Self-Alley-Oop During Warmups of Iona vs. Manhattan (via arikramer24)
What We Learned:
- Dude must have an outstanding core.
- You can incorporate skateboards into legitimate basketball workouts. Who knew?
- Machado seems very assured on the court, never really flustered (at least in that clip). It was against Niagara, but he was in complete control there.
- He's got a little bit of athleticism and burst.
I am a big Scott Machado fan, and I really like what he brings to the table as a point guard. How good can he be at the next level? That remains to be seen. He would be the ideal point guard for Mike D'Antoni's open offense, but how exactly would he fit in with a Mike Woodson team? Is he a good enough shooter to make defenders pay for helping on Carmelo? Can he handle pressure defense in a half court set against NBA point guards? Can he play any defense? I think that his natural point guard abilities (maybe second only to Kendall Marshall of UNC) make him a strong second round candidate if he's there, because you just don't find that kind of floor leadership that late in the draft. But for a player that had some late first round buzz a couple of months ago, I'm starting to have reservations. Maybe I'm just paranoid for no apparent reason.
What do you guys think?