TBG Player Preview 2016-2017: Luis Scola

(AP Photo/Luis Scola)
(AP Photo/Luis Scola)
(AP Photo/Luis Scola)
(AP Photo/Luis Scola)

Luis Scola, power forward

2015-2016: 21.5 MPG, 8.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 0.9 APG, .450 FG%, .404 3P%, .726 FT%, .523 TS%, .503 eFG%, 76 G

Who is Luis Scola?

Luis Scola is a 36 year-old power forward, an Olympic gold medalist, and the (former) proud owner of a minivan. He has earned the crafty veteran label due to his plethora of post moves and ability to find a niche in the constantly evolving NBA, and is respected throughout the league as an excellent teammate — which certainly played a role in his signing with the Nets. Scola definitely hasn’t been playing for as long as you think — this will be his tenth season in the league — but he was drafted way back in 2002 by the San Antonio Spurs. And, if you want to find a flaw on Gregg Popovich’s nearly perfect resume, it may well be that he traded Scola for peanuts before he ever set foot on an NBA court.

The Nets signed Scola to a one-year deal worth 5 million on July 12th.

2015-2016 Recap:

Scola was the starting power forward for the 56-win Toronto Raptors last season and, in a surprising revelation, he added a three-point shot to his arsenal. Heading into last season, he had attempted just 60 three-pointers — and making only 10 of them — over his 631-game career. Scola hoisted 161 attempts last year, hitting them at a superb 40.4% and caused every Raptors writer and blogger to abuse the “teach an old dog new tricks” cliche. Head coach Dwane Casey often deferred to Patrick Patterson in crunch time and the Argentine tailed off a bit in the second-half of the season, but it’s difficult to call last season anything other than a successful campaign.

If there was a knock against Scola, it would be that his defense did sag noticeably as the season wore on and the games became more important. That may be something to watch this season — though, to be fair, he’s 36 and was never known for lock-down defense.

What Did the Pundits Say?

Brian Lewis of the New York Post cracked a joke about Scola’s age, but pointed out that there is undoubtedly some value to be had:

“Scola, 36, is just four years younger than general manager Sean Marks, but the experienced Argentine can provide veteran leadership for an exceedingly young team. He still had some gas left in the tank last season, and could provide a nice foil for old-school center Brook Lopez.”

What Does Scola Bring to the Table?

Scola is, in many ways, the Greivis Vasquez of the frontcourt. He offers leadership and experience, as well as the ability to play 15 to 20 minutes while providing at least a bit of value. If his three-point stroke is still intact, he may well be the team’s best three-point shooter, as well — which is somewhat scary, but I digress. In fact, in this very preseason, Scola hit 3-4 three-pointers during the Nets’ only preseason victory versus the Detroit Pistons and then dropped a 14-point, 11-rebound effort with two three-pointers against the Boston Celtics a few games later.

The value provided by veteran presence and the like may be intangible and unquantifiable — but Scola brings it in spades.

The Scola Highlight Reel Theater:

The Bottom Line:

Scola will probably play the fewest minutes of his career with Brooklyn this year, barring some unforeseen and/or catastrophic circumstance. That does not mean, however, that he will be leading the cheers from the bench — he’ll simply play 15 to 18 minutes per game, and be counted on to be an extension of Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson when he is on the floor. And, just for fun, he’ll bust out some herky-jerky post moves and remind the young whippersnappers on the floor that he can still get it done.

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