We don't have any reason to know who the hell Scott Machado is and yet if there is one thing that Scott has done since getting spurned by every team in the 2012 NBA Draft, it has been to demand your attention.
His teammates have learned to do so out of necessity. In camp I watched Machado make pass after pass that seemed to travel by way of wormhole to their final destination. When his teammates are on the court with Machado they simply must be alert at all times; it's hard to know when or where the ball might be delivered. And that's the only reason we've learned to pay attention to Scott Michael Machado.
"I always try to get the best shot available," Machado says to me while wrapping ice around his knees after the Houston-OKC preseason opener. "When you [get the best shot] your percentage in shooting goes way up so instead of just looking for my shot or my points I like to create for other players and that opens lanes for everyone and me."
Scott Machado has an innate ability to see the floor in a way that maybe only he can understand. He reduces every player and surface of the court to the simplest elements of geometry the same way Neo Anderson would strip the Matrix down to rudimentary bits of raining green binary code. The Iona icon is a passer and a pure passer in the deepest sense of the word. Scott can hit the occasional jumper but he doesn't have the ability to create his own shot. He's bought into the Rockets defense-first mentality but still has miles to go before he's a solid NBA defender (to be fair, not many people can slow down Russell Westbrook).
"Growing up you weren't going to get noticed by passing the ball," Machado says. "Passing has just always been this natural skill but you have to learn the game too. I know that I have to bring other things to my game to make me a better player and help out the team more."
Perhaps to his own detriment Machado yearns to be more than just the passer. He has a vision of being the guy. Watching him play over the last week, Machado reminds me a little of journeyman point guard Earl Watson only with more confidence. Watson himself is already overly confident so the comparison to Machado should key you in to just how self assured he really is. This isn't meant to be a knock on Machado. What kind of comparison does and undrafted nobody deserve? If he is half as good as Watson then we could consider him another Morey gem.
His resume speaks (though he'll tell you it yells) for itself; Machado averaged eight points and 5.6 assists in 25.4 minutes per game in Las Vegas. He had a decent college career, but, well who gives a damn about that, right?
"People don't know that I can score the ball," Machado says. "I always have to play defense. You know I could pass (he chuckles a little) but I'm capable of being a leader; I can run a team and help the team win a lot of games."
I hope you're right, Scott. I'm rooting for you.
He will very likely see time with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers this season but Machado is certain that he's played his way onto this roster. While speaking with him, I got that general feeling that he's a guy with something to prove. A guy who knows his window is short and narrow and he will kill himself if the opportunity slips away. These are the symptoms of a guy with burning ambition that might far exceed his natural talent. Needless to say, this guy is a picture postcard Rocket.
Prediction: 1st team All NBA-Development League team and future Morey deadline trade-bait.