Gentry 'Extremely Happy' About Scola Addition
Posted: July 16, 2012
When Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry receives phone calls from team executives during the frantic NBA offseason, it's hard to know exactly what the news about the roster will be.
Such was the the case on Sunday for Gentry, who was away from Phoenix for the 2012 NBA Las Vegas Summer League, when he heard from the team's President of Basketball Operations, Lon Babby.
“Well, when Lon gave me a call, he told me, ‘We’ve got Scola,'" Gentry said. "I was just extremely happy. This gives us another guy to plug in, and this is just a situation where he can step right in and help us.”
Both the coach and the team’s president of basketball operations were pleased to have placed the winning bid on the veteran power forward via the league’s amnesty process. Scola averaged 15.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season for the Houston Rockets.
With Scola on board, the Suns have boosted depth up front while adding a proven low-block scorer.
Last year’s starter, Channing Frye, is on the mend from a partial shoulder dislocation that took place on April 21 against the Denver Nuggets. Meanwhile, Scola brings experience and a pretty impressive resume with him to Phoenix.
Over the Argentinian’s five-year career, he has averaged 14.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
What impresses Gentry is Scola’s ability to be effective through preparation and that he possesses a supreme understanding of his own game.
“I just think he’s a real heady player," Gentry said. "He’s a real student of the game, and that shows in how effective he is in the low post. He understands angles, as far as what he can do and what he can’t do."
While the head coach is anticipating getting to know Scola, one man in Gentry’s corner with plenty of knowledge of the team’s new forward is assistant coach Elston Turner.
Beginning in 2007, Scola was added to the Rockets' roster and Turner was brought on as an assistant coach. The two worked together until Turner left to become an assistant coach and the Suns' defensive coordinator in July of 2011.
Turner focused on Scola’s experience, echoing Gentry’s thoughts on the big man. But it wasn’t just experience at the NBA level that has impressed Turner; it was his involvement at the international level for the Argentinian team.
“First and foremost, he brings experience. The guy has been around and had success at different levels,” Turner said. “He’s played in some big games for his Argentinian national team, and he’s come away with some accolades.
“And that’s even with (Manu) Ginobili on the team, (Andres) Nocioni on the team, and the list would go on and on because it’s a good team.”
After spending time around Scola, Turner believes the veteran forward has established himself because of his work ethic.
“He has a work ethic that coaches wish for," Turner said. "It’s not only in games when he shows that. It’s also in practice and the offseason. You don’t see a lot of that these days."
With the addition of Scola, it’s become clear that the Suns will have plenty of talent at the power forward position – at least once Frye gets back to 100 percent.
As the roster currently stands, Scola’s ability to score as many as 18 points per game – primarily down on the low block – Frye’s touch on the perimeter and improvements to second-year forward Markieff Morris, could provide Gentry plenty of options at the position.
That doesn’t bother the coach one bit.
“Yeah, well that’s a good problem to have,” Gentry said.