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Happy in Houston: Argentina's Scola about to make his mark on NBA

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by jsmee2000, Aug 30, 2007.

  1. jsmee2000

    jsmee2000 Contributing Member

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    Happy in Houston
    Argentina's Scola about to make his mark on NBA
    Posted: Thursday August 30, 2007 2:14AM; Updated: Thursday August 30, 2007 2:14AM


    It was a typical NBA play in a very non-NBA game.

    With 30 seconds left and Argentina leading by four in overtime of their quarterfinal matchup with Brazil, Luis Scola moved towards the top of the key to set a screen for Argentinean guard Pablo Prigioni. With Brazil's Nene attached to his hip, Scola set a textbook screen that freed Prigioni and forced Nene to shift off Scola. Prigioni lobbed the ball back to Scola for a wide open 15-foot jump shot on the left elbow. Swish. Ballgame.

    Scola may be the best player in this tournament who has never played an NBA minute, though as a recently signed property of the Houston Rockets that will certainly change. The 6-foot-10 power forward is averaging 17.9 points on 53.8 percent shooting in the FIBA America's tournament and has a depleted Brazil team (they are without Manu Ginobili, Fabricio Oberto, Andres Nocioni, Carlos Delfino and Walter Hermann) undefeated heading into Thursday's game against the United States.

    "I really like Scola," says former Rockets coach and Lakers scout Rudy Tomjanovich. "He's the kind of guy who doesn't do anything great but does everything well. He's smart and he has the size and strength to be an NBA power forward."

    So why has the 27-year old Scola, a two-time Spanish League MVP, been toiling in Europe with Tau Ceramica the last five years while Argentinean national teammates Oberto and Ginobili have been racking up titles in San Antonio?

    Part of the blame for that has to be placed on the Spurs, who have a history of drafting players and leaving them overseas until they need them. In 2005 San Antonio attempted to bring Scola aboard but failed to come to terms with Tau on a buyout (Tau initially was asking for a staggering $14.5 million for Scola). While continuing negotiations in 2006, the Spurs reportedly told Scola after the season that they would probably not sign him, due to the fact that they did not want to invest in another power forward after signing Oberto and trading for Matt Bonner. They also had questions about how well Scola would play alongside to Tim Duncan.

    The decision prompted outrage from Scola's camp, which claimed the Spurs were holding Scola "prisoner" and that they were trying to "impede him" from playing in the NBA. "I did want to play in the NBA last season," admitted Scola moments scoring 23 points in Argentina's 86-79 victory over Brazil. "But it just didn't work out."

    That's not to say there wasn't interest in Scola from other teams. With the Spurs again passing on signing Scola this summer, they opened the bidding to other teams interested in vying for his draft rights. Detroit, Seattle and Cleveland all expressed interest but it was Houston who emerged the winner, dealing Vassilis Spanoulis (who later bolted for Europe), a second-round draft pick and cash considerations for a man who has been touted as Europe's top player. "As an organization, we felt responsible to allow Luis to pursue his dream of the NBA," Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said at the time, "and this was the best opportunity to realize his value." The Rockets immediately signed Scola to a three-year, $9.3 million contract and paid $500,000 toward his buyout.

    "He's a very active player," said LeBron James. "He's the kind of guy you have to find and keep a body on all the time."

    "I think Scola is going to fit in great in Houston's system," says Tomjanovich, who compares Scola to former Laker Kurt Rambis. "He's very active and he passes the ball extremely well. Houston's not going to ask much of him offensively because of all the weapons they have their, but he is showing in this tournament that he can knock down that perimeter jump shot."

    Scola will probably get a number of chances to do just that. The Rockets have a gaping hole at the power forward position next season and will likely pencil Scola's name into the starting slot. It's a role he is prepared for, even if it is long overdue.

    "I feel like I'm ready," says Scola, who says he feels no animosity for San Antonio. "It's the next step in my career. When this tournament is over, it's all I am going to think about."
     
  2. jsmee2000

    jsmee2000 Contributing Member

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    Qualifying tourney sets stage for Scola's awaited NBA debut
    Posted 8h 49m ago | Comment | Recommend

    Argentina's Luis Scola shoots a free throw during Tuesday's 85-70 win over Canada in the FIBA Americas tournament. Scola will make his NBA debut with the Houston Rockets this fall.

    By David DuPree, USA TODAY
    LAS VEGAS — While most of Argentina's big-name players passed on playing in the Olympic qualifying tournament, countryman Luis Scola decided to come.

    He is also finally coming to the NBA next season as a member of the Houston Rockets.

    The 6-9, 250-pound Scola, 27, is a rugged defender, a reliable rebounder and a good ballhandler and can be a proven scorer — all skills that should fit perfectly with new Rockets coach Rick Adelman's up-tempo style.

    Going into Wednesday's game against Brazil, Scola was averaging 17.0 points, 11th best in the tournament, and was seventh overall in rebounding at 7.3 a game.

    GALLERY: Scenes from the FIBA Americas tournament

    Scola, a two-time Spanish League MVP, has been one of the top players in the world outside of the NBA.

    Chuck Hayes was Houston's starting power forward last season, but Scola is more versatile and a bigger offensive threat. Scola is projected to be the eventual starter and to be an ideal complement to center Yao Ming.

    "Luis obviously fills a position we need," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. "He has size and experience, and he's been a winner at every level."

    Carlos Delfino of the Toronto Raptors is the only one of the five current Argentines who played in the NBA last season who is in Las Vegas. Manu Ginobili and Fabricio Oberto of the San Antonio Spurs, Andres Nocioni of the Chicago Bulls and Walter Herrmann of the Charlotte Bobcats — all key members of the 2004 Olympic championship team — are not here.

    "Those who aren't here have their own reasons, and I respect them," said Scola, who was also an integral part of the 2004 Olympic team.

    Even without the NBA stars, Argentina entered Wednesday's games as the only undefeated team besides the USA. They meet today in the final game of the second round and appear headed for another meeting in the final Sunday, regardless of today's outcome.

    The two teams in the championship game qualify for the 2008 Olympics.

    The Spurs drafted Scola in the second round in 2002 but had been unable to sign him because of the difficulty in buying out his contract with his Spanish League team.

    With Ginobili and Oberto already in San Antonio, the Spurs tried to get Scola. When they couldn't do it, they traded his rights to the Rockets, who were able to agree to a contract buyout and sign him to a multiyear deal.

    "I'm really happy about the way things turned out," Scola said. "It has been a dream of mine to play in the NBA since I was 4 or 5 years old."

    Posted 8h 49m ago
     
  3. Spacemoth

    Spacemoth Contributing Member

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    Today's judgment day. Let's see how Scola handles LeBron and the elite USA forwards. Points are kind of irrelevant because I expect the US to blow them out and stats might be meaningless by that point, but...I'm dying to see if he can play defense. The day after an OT win over Brazil will give him an excuse if he sucks, but he would be the last person to say so.
     
  4. ThePrivate

    ThePrivate Member

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    rudy t comparing scola to kurt rambis? man, that is an insult to scola. rudy t should get out of the comparison business.
     
  5. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

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    Did you ever see Superman er, Rambis play?
     
  6. ThePrivate

    ThePrivate Member

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    Superman? quit while you will never be ahead.
     
  7. jsmee2000

    jsmee2000 Contributing Member

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    From Wikipedia, wiki link

    During his playing days, Rambis was a favorite among the Lakers fans because of his status as an over-achieving underdog and ultimate team-player. Known for his defensive skills, Rambis also was an efficient clean-up man on offense with his field goal percentage reaching 59.5% at the peak of his career. Rambis usually wore a thick moustache and thick-rimmed black glasses, prompting Lakers announcer Chick Hearn to nickname him "Superman" (in reference to the character's alter ego, Clark Kent).
     
  8. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

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    Try answering the question, did you ever see the bespectacled one play?
     
  9. gotrock?

    gotrock? Member

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    OK, while he was at his "peak" of 59% FG he was averaging a whopping 5.5 ppg...if that's all we get from Scola, I'd be disappointed.
     
  10. Pat

    Pat Contributing Member

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    Are you expecting us to believe that you know more about NBA players than Rudy T?
     
  11. blazer_ben

    blazer_ben Rookie

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    I never saw rambis play live, but from the games i've seen him in, he was a extremly intelligent player. very smartb player who knew he's limitations and never tried out of he's ability. the perfect role player.

    Just because he looked like a walking condom with thoose tight shorts and the googooles, it dosent make him a bad player. same thing with mark eatons strange hair style. he was still a heck of a shot blocker.
     
  12. jsmee2000

    jsmee2000 Contributing Member

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    Actually, 5.5 ppg was for Rambis only playing around 10-15 minutes. I expect Scola to play more minutes than that. Also, as Rudy T said "Houston's not going to ask much of him offensively because of all the weapons they have there, but he is showing in this tournament that he can knock down that perimeter jump shot." In addition to his scoring punch, Scola will contribute in areas where stats may not be quantifiable.
     
  13. blazer_ben

    blazer_ben Rookie

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    Rudy is not saying scola is the identical replica of rambis, he's saying he is in the same mold in terms of intelligence and b-ball IQ. you can do alot worse then rambis.

    Offcourse he is much more skilled then rambis. personally i think he'll be in the same mold as battier. Will do everything it takes to get the win.
     
  14. TheBornLoser

    TheBornLoser Contributing Member

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    Yeah... he could have been the Stromile Swift of Argentina :D
     
  15. supafrumpy

    supafrumpy Contributing Member

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    why does the SI article say a Brazil team? kinda lost some credibility to me.
     
  16. intergalactic

    intergalactic Contributing Member

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    Rambis was no star, but his stats were not bad. Here's his best season.
    Season Team GP Min FG 3Pt. FT Reb. Ast. Stl. Blk. Pts. PPG
    88-89 Charlotte 75 2233 .518 .000 .734 703 159 100 57 832 11.1

    Playing 29.8 minutes a game he averaged 11.1 pts and 9.5 rebounds, with solid free throw shooting and FG%. He also averaged 1.3 steals per game, though he wasn't much of a shot blocker.

    If Scola plays like this, I don't think we'd have much reason to complain. Based on his FIBA play, I think he'll be a better scorer than Rambis, though. But it'll be tough to get him enough shots for him to average more than 10 points, unless Adelman can really turn us into a run and gun team.
     
  17. intergalactic

    intergalactic Contributing Member

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    One other thing -- I think the Rambis comparison is good for Scola as well because it looks to me like Scola plays more of a 1980's game. By that I mean he has a very balanced offensive repertoire, with an emphasis on results rather than highlights. He makes his layups, cuts effectively to the basket, and is lights out with the mid-range jumpshot.

    I'm really impressed by the way he can hit the J while moving toward the basket, which was a staple of 1980's play. It's a very hard shot to defend, though also difficult to shoot, much like the teardrop that Tony Parker uses so effectively. The leaning J is something you don't see much with most NBA players, who IMO seem to only shoot jump shots out of a postup, curling off a screen, or in a straight face up with their feet set. In the championship years, Mario Elie made his living off of the leaning J (cutting to the basket from just beyond the top of the key) and the 3pt shot. Without that running shot, he would have been a far weaker offensive player.
     
    #17 intergalactic, Aug 30, 2007
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2007
  18. ThePrivate

    ThePrivate Member

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    yes i did. i used to laugh at riley when he thought your superman could actually defend the dream!

    i am not going to knock rambis per se because i always appreciate a hustling player.

    let me just say that rambis benefited by being on a very good lakers team.
     
  19. MrButtocks

    MrButtocks Contributing Member

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    Rambis played like Nick Collison: smart, active, and dirty. They just never showed off their skills much.

    I like the Battier comparisons for Scola. It means we have a high-skills contributor who doesn't need the ball to be effective. How many times did we wish Battier could play PF last year? Now we have the real thing AND can keep Battier at SF. With scorers at the three other positions our team is in a much better position than last year.
     
  20. vlaurelio

    vlaurelio Contributing Member

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    i would give them a pass on that

    but it also said carlose delfino wasn't playing
     
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