Iona's Scott Machado could be the best pure point guard in the Draft, which should sound like sacrilege to any fan of North Carolina.
Then again, Machado could be among the best point guards when you factor in size and level of competition.
Or Machado could be an also-ran because of other concerns with his style of play. We won't know until Machado's name is or isn't called in the draft and someone gives him a legitimate chance with their club, something that the former Gael is hoping will happen no matter the case with the draft.
Currently looked at as a potential pick in the late second round, Machado's profile is different depending on which scouting report you care to trust the most.
School: Iona (New Rochelle, N.Y. | MAAC Conference)
Hometown: Queens, N.Y.
Weight: 180 lbs
Accolades: Won Haggarty Award as the top player in the New York area; MAAC Player of the Year (2011-12); 2x 1st Team All-MAAC, 1x 2nd Team All-MAAC; MAAC Rookie of the Year
Team Record: 83-49
Iona's Scott Machado was supposed to be the hot small-school guard in the draft, a title since ceded to Damian Lillard. That doesn't mean that Machado isn't a top prospect; he just takes a little warming up to. Other than the level of competition that Machado faced while at Iona, he also has to deal with worries about his size and his ability to do more than just distribute the ball in the league.
That said, it is hard to argue with his 880 assists in four years, including 327 this past season. He also improved as a shooter during his final year, especially from long range, a huge hole in his game prior to his senior campaign. Machado should be among the best college point guards available on draft day.
Final Season Averages:
13.6 pts...9.9 asts...4.9 rebs...1.6 steals...3.3 turnovers...35.5 mins...49.5% FG...40.4% 3PT...81.1% FT
The biggest thing that stands out about Machado is the assist numbers. He led the country in assists per game, just edging out North Carolina's Kendall Marshall.
Yet while Marshall was playing with All-American caliber players, Machado was not, meaning he had to share some of the load on the offensive end. That said, like Marshall, Machado was responsible for more than 50 percent of his team's assists (51.3 percent). That is a huge asset to have on the floor as he is not just as one dimensional as some might make him out to be.
In terms of value, there is no doubt that Machado contributes a ton to his team. During his senior year, he registered a HOOPWAR per 30 games of 9.26. His best teammate (Mike Glover) posted a 4.13, whereas no one else was able to crack 1.0.
Compare that to Marshall who was surrounded by players who could make massive impacts in games. Five players outside of the Tar Heels' point guard registered above a 1.0 on the HOOPWAR scale, including two over 8.0.
That is not to say that Machado was a better player than Marshall (even though he did outperform him on the HOOPWAR scale). Machado is just a different player, one that is shorter by three inches, and he was asked to do more for his team than Marshall ever had to do for North Carolina. Both were game changers, and in the end, the better choice for an NBA team will come down to likely the height difference, and the talent ceiling.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
The passing skill is there. Machado will find a way to get the ball to the right man, and make things happen on the floor, no matter his size. He improved as a shooter his senior year because he became more selective in his shots, even if he is not a huge scorer. His assist-to-turnover ratio was also outstanding at close to 3.0, highlighting his ability to hold on to the ball.
And Doug Gottlieb is high on him, for what that's worth.
Iona played an up-tempo style, and Machado was less effective in the half-court according to some scouting reports. In the NBA, this could become an issue as breaks are less frequent unless he ends up with a team like the Knicks where there is no defense.
His size and jumping ability are also concerns, as most 6-1 point guards are faster or have some legs to make their game more dynamic. Machado won't be the best player on the floor any longer in the NBA, and could be exposed for this lack of speed.
As with all of the mid-major candidates, there is a concern about the competition he played against in college. Unlike Lillard, or Johnson, who turned it on against tougher competition, Machado's level of play remained about the same in and out of conference.
Current Prospect Rankings
Chad Ford (ESPN): No. 36 (No. 6 at position)
DraftExpress: No. 49 (Projected 2nd round pick by Denver Nuggets)
DraftExpress has Machado headed to the Denver Nuggets as the 20th pick in the 2nd round, and NBADraft.net puts him as "Mr. Irrelevant", No. 60 to the L.A. Lakers. Based on the mocks, and how things shake out, it could be that Portland could take him with one of its two picks in the 2nd round, depending on if the team goes for Kendall Marshall in the first. Detroit could also go with a point guard a few picks prior to Denver. His workout in mid-May doesn't appear to have been good enough to push him into the first round.
NBA Combine: June 7-8