(J Alexander Diaz/Los Angeles Lakers)
Latest Laker: Scott Machado
It has been a long road back to the NBA for Scott Machado.
Four years in the G League interspersed with stints in France, Estonia, Germany and Spain — an unlikely path to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Yet Machado is officially a member of the purple and gold, having signed a 10-day contract on Thursday.
“I love this game,” Machado said.”To be at the highest level is something I think everyone that plays the game of basketball wants to be at. For me this is my happy place — happy place to be in the NBA, happy place to be playing basketball, period.”
Machado’s last two seasons have been spent shining for the South Bay Lakers, crescendoing with a sizzling stretch of basketball this month.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound point guard is the reigning G League Player of the Week, with robust averages of 25.0 points, 14.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds in South Bay’s last three wins.
Machado has always been a pass-first player, as evidenced when he led the entire NCAA in assists while at Iona College in 2012.
The 28-year-old has remained an elite distributor at the G League level, handing out the league’s second-most dimes this year (7.9).
Machado is at his best when driving to the hoop, where he likes to tilt his defenders off balance by using hesitation dribbles and other changes of pace. With his eyes always up, he is an expert at locating open shooters and cutters on the move.
Likewise, Machado’s greatest strength as a scorer comes off the dribble.
The Queens native — who has averaged 22.8 points in March and 16.4 this season — ranks among the G League’s 87th percentile as an isolation scorer (1.06 points per possession).
He has good feel for when to attack the basket and when to pull up for a jumper, plus the requisite ball handling to get to his spots.
“His finishing, from what I can tell, seems to be getting better as far as understanding angles,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “He’s not the tallest of guards, but he’s able to use the size he does have to finish.”
And when he draws contact, he almost always makes it count, shooting 89.7 percent from the foul line — second-best in the G League.
Machado does have NBA experience, having played for both Houston and Golden State during his 2012-13 rookie season.
Since then he has ceaselessly knocked on the NBA’s door, including two training camps and five summer leagues. Now he’ll get another shot at showing what he can do at basketball’s highest level.
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