Former Iona point guard Scott Machado has a great opportunity over the next week to attract additional attention from NBA teams.
The 6-foot-1 Machado recently reached an agreement with the Houston Rockets to play for that franchise's summer league team in Las Vegas. The team's first game is Friday and the squad will play five games in a six-day stretch.
Despite leading all Division I players in assists this past season (9.9 per game), Machado went undrafted in the recent NBA draft.
Reports indicated that his height likely worked against him. And, that at some individual pre-draft workouts, Machado did not display exceptional athleticism.
But individual workouts don't necessarily bring out what Machado does best, and that's to creatively find open teammates with crisp passes that lead to good shots. The best indication of that skill, which is always needed by professional teams, can be seen in game action. And, Machado now gets five games to showcase what he can do best.
A number of teams contacted Machado after the draft, including the New York Knicks, the New Orleans Hornets, the Toronto Raptors and the Atlanta Hawks, all offering him the chance to play for their summer-league teams. But, Machado chose the Rockets.
It seems like a good choice, since the Rockets appear in desperate need of players to run their offense. They recently traded last year's starting point, Kyle Lowry, to the Toronto Raptors and lost Lowry's back-up, Goran Dragic, when he recently signed to join the Phoenix Suns. The Rockets then made an offer to Jeremy Lin who subsequently was resigned by the New York Knicks.
What does the summer league opportunity mean to Machado?
"I get to show my game, show that I am a competitor and that I love to play the game," Machado told the Journal News recently.
Machado's time in the summer league, though, doesn't mean the Rockets are the only team that he's trying to impress.
"There are going to be dozens of scouts from other teams watching him, too," Ryan Blake, the NBA's senior director of scouting operations, told the Journal News.
The Rockets and Machado will play games on Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The first three of those contests will be televised via NBA-TV.
If Machado doesn't come out of the summer league with an offer to join an NBA team for preseason camp, he said he'll continue to chase his professional dream either in the NBA's D-League, or overseas.
"This is going to be my profession, regardless," Machado said. "I hope that it will be with an NBA team.
A personal opinion here ... your Hoopscribe has actively covered the MAAC in some capacity or another since 1989, and has been an interested observer since the conference's inception in 1981. I would rate Machado the best "pure passer" that has ever played in the league.