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Luis Scola accepts role, willing to come off Pacers bench

Aug 2, 2013, 11:45 AM EST

scola-suns Getty Images

Luis Scola has reached the “I just want to win” phase of his career.

Scola was shipped from the rebuilding Phoenix Suns to the contending Indiana Pacers this summer and will be part of a much deeper bench for the Pacers.

Scola (like everybody) would love more time on the court but said he is ready to accept his new role if it means winning, reports Michael Pointer of the USA Today.

“I’m 32 years old,” Scola said. “I don’t know how many more years I’m going to play. We all know the older we are, the more you know, and we all know it’s about winning. People won’t care about all the numbers you have if you play on a bad team. It’s all about winning. I know that. The older I am, the stronger I believe that.”

“It’s not my choice, but I am going to embrace my role,” he said. “It’s a different role, but I think we’ve got a bunch of new players that can make a difference in the role they play. I will try to be one of those players.”

Indiana has one of the NBA’s best starting fives last season (and into the playoffs) but the drop when you got into their bench was steep. This summer they added Scola, Chris Copeland, C.J. Watson and they get Danny Granger back, which means either he or Lance Stephenson will come off the bench, too. Add in a few minutes for Ian Mahinmi and you have a solid second five, one that can keep the starter’s minutes under control.

The Pacers are serious title contenders next year — they won 49 games last season (that will go up), they had the best defense in the NBA and their size is a real matchup problem for Miami. If Granger and Paul George can meld, they are a serious threat to win it all.

  1. 12444uggg - Aug 2, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    I never though I’d see so much positive press for the Pacers.
    I like this second unit as much as some lower mid tier teams starting 5’s.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 2, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      I don’t like it very much. The only bright spot is granger, and he isn’t all that bright.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 2, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        adamsjohn714

        For a bench, the Pacers bench will be good.

        Scola’s career PER is 16.9. He’s only had one season that was in the 15 range and it was 15.4, all others have been 16.1 or higher.

        15 is a league average PER and oh so many guys coming off the bench are below league average.

        If Granger were to come off the bench he would be much better than most guys in the league who come off the bench.

        Chris Copeland has only played one yr but he shot .421% from 3 pt range and that is a great percentage. His PER last season was 16.8.

        Lance Stephenson’s numbers improved a lot last yr, his 3rd yr over his first two yrs. He has a chance to be good whether he starts or comes off the bench.

        One needs to think about the mix on a team. Copeland’s only played one yr, Stephenson’s only played 3 yrs so having a solid veteran like Luis Scola on the 2nd unit will help a lot as he’ll bring the experience and they’ll bring the energy and young legs…

        Scola’s career averages per 36 mins of court time are over 17 points per 36 mins on the court and over 9 rebounds per 36 mins of game time. He’s a solid vet and a GREAT guy to have on an NBA bench.

        Ian Mahinmi is a classic bench guy, not great but not bad.

        C.J. Watson is a tad below league average career wise with his PER at 13.6. He should only be a backup point guard and that is what his role will be on the Pacers.

        Overall, there bench is going to be very good.

      • stlouis1baseball - Aug 2, 2013 at 4:52 PM

        Granger is gonna’ be starting and Lance will be coming off the bench.
        Either way…the 2nd unit will be solid.

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 2, 2013 at 11:17 PM

        oh god sportsfan. Please don’t quote PER to me. And also, just saying people are “great guys” and “solid guys” means very little. Perhaps they should be Boy Scout Troop Leaders. You seem to think there are just unlimited possessions and shot attempts as well. Good luck to you.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 3, 2013 at 6:09 AM

        adamsjohn714

        No, there is not unlimited possessions shot attempts. Teams only get around 80 to 81 shot attempts per game. And THAT is why being efficient is good.

        Due to the limited shot attempts, things like a players efficiency ranking (PER), true shooting percentage, effective FG percentage, offensive and defensive ratings are very important.

        With a limited amount of shot attempts per game, teams shouldn’t want to piss them away with those who aren’t efficient and aren’t very good shooters.

        Nothing wrong with real stats such as PER.

        You put me down for saying players were “great guys” etc… as this was just an opinion and means little but then you also put me down when I quoted real stats/facts vs. offering my opinion.

        Since I guess you don’t want either facts and stats or others opinions then no one may respond to you as we may only offer our opinions or facts and stats…

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 3, 2013 at 5:45 PM

        There is one major thing wrong with PER. If you shoot 38% and only take 2 point shots (which everyone knows is AWFUL) you’re a horribly inefficient player. Yet, if you shoot 38% and take 45 shots a game (which would cripple your team’s offense) your PER would we really high. It rewards inefficient scoring.

        Somehow you make the connection that those things matter, yet you don’t realize that Hansbrough’s TS% is higher than average for his position, while Scola’s is below average. Scola’s deficiency is magnified if you play him at C, which the Suns did sometimes.
        Even simpler version: Last year, for every FGA, Hansbrough scored 1.4 points. Last year, for every FGA, Scola scored 1.15 points. Scola actually took 6 more shots per 48 minutes last year, and only scored 3 more points per 48 minutes.

        Scola has a slight edge in steals and defensive rebounds. (Hansbrough easily outweighs this by dominating the offensive glass). Neither blocked many shots last year, with Scola averaging .2 more per 48 minutes. They both fouled more than average, with Scola committing a negligible .3 more fouls per 48 minutes.

        Clearly, to me, Hansbrough is the better player, with the final nail in Scola’s coffin being age.

      • Kurt Helin - Aug 4, 2013 at 11:11 AM

        If you shoot 38 percent, your PER will not be high. It does reward guys who take more shots (because those guys are taking on more of the offensive shot creation) but don’t do it.

      • Kurt Helin - Aug 4, 2013 at 11:11 AM

        If you shoot 38 percent, your PER will not be high. It does reward guys who take more shots (because those guys are taking on more of the offensive shot creation) but don’t over do it.

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 4, 2013 at 6:38 PM

        Kurt. The break even point on 2 point shots is actually 30.4%. So if you shot 35% from 2 point land and took 100 shots a game, your PER would skyrocket. It’s really basic math.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 5, 2013 at 12:53 AM

        adamsjohn714

        Saying that the break even point for 2 pt shots is 30.4% is a misunderstanding of PER — PER is calibrated against the rest of the league at the end of the formula. Actually, if we took a player who was completely average in every other respect for the 2006-07 season — rebounds, free throws, assists, turnovers, etc. — and gave him a league-average rate of shots, and all of them were 2-pointers, and he shot 30.4%, he’d end up with a PER of 7.18. As long-time PER fans know, that would make him considerably worse than nearly every player in the league. To end up with a league-aveage PER of 15.00, the actual break-even mark in this case is 48.5%, which is exactly what the league average is on 2-point shots that season.

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 2, 2013 at 12:22 PM

      @ 12444uggg

      Yeah, I wouldn’t go that far, but they do have a reliable bench that could hold their own.

      • moseskkim - Aug 2, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        Yeah it’s a better bench than they had last yr but that’s trash compared to all starting lineups

  2. ibchuck33 - Aug 2, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Roy Hibbert is a brighter spot than a dude coming back off an injury. Even if that dude is Granger. And Paul George is better than Granger.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 2, 2013 at 2:32 PM

      ummmmm……..i was clearly referring to the bench. The starting lineup has many bright spots. Unfortunately for the Pacers, Roy Hibbert doesn’t get to face the Heat each game.

  3. 8to80texansblog - Aug 2, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Having a guy the caliber of Scola coming off the bench says a lot about the Pacers as a team. They are a such an under the radar franchise that has obviously got some great talent and should break through the Heat wall soon. Everyone around the East seems to be getting better and the Heat are content on lying on their laurels…. While I generally believe the team with the best player should win in a 7 game series, Lebron can’t do it all.

    Should be interesting to see if the Pacers can finally get to the finals.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 2, 2013 at 2:31 PM

      Scola isn’t very good. An old, inefficient big man who plays no defense and fouls constantly isn’t exactly an upgrade.

      • gofuccyourselfflorio - Aug 2, 2013 at 2:43 PM

        what article did you read dude? this one has “willing to come off pacers bench” in the title. of course he’s not an upgrade over D West, but he’s a definite upgrade over Tyler off the bench.

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 2, 2013 at 2:58 PM

        what math do you use? Cause the universe that I exist in, Tyler’s a much more efficient scorer, younger (so likely to improve, compared to Scola, who is likely to decline), and a better rebounder. Sorta like a better player.

      • bougin89 - Aug 2, 2013 at 5:07 PM

        Hansbrough was efficient because he would typically only get garbage points. He’s not someone you would typically throw the ball down low to. Scola is a much more offensively skilled big man than Hansbrough which is what Indy was looking for wasn’t it? Scoring off the bench?

      • bougin89 - Aug 2, 2013 at 5:19 PM

        Holy crap I take back my last comment about Hansbrough being efficient on offense. I was just going off of what I seen of him in the playoffs. His FG% is terrible. The last 4 seasons for Hansbrough:

        .360
        .465
        .405
        .432

        career: .427

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 2, 2013 at 11:19 PM

        check out his TS%. He shoots 2x the FT’s as Scola. That’s rather important, as it puts his TS% above average, while Scola’s remains below average. The gap (just off the top of my head) is around 54% to 51%. And young players (tyler) tend to improve, while old players (Scola) tend to decline. Here’s a hint: Scola’s showing signs of serious decline.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 3, 2013 at 8:31 AM

        adamsjohn714

        Please don’t go “off the top of your head” when spouting stats like Hansbrough’s and Scola’s true shooting percentages.

        You missed the mark. You’re online here so simply Google “Tyler Hansbrough career stats” and do the same for Scola. Basketball reference dot com is good for this. Breaks out all players stats.

        AND Tyler’s career true shooting percentage is .513%. Scola’s is .541%.

        Tyler’s effective FG% is .427%. Scola’s is .504%.

        In your post you did say to “check out his TS%” so I did. You said that “That’s rather important, as it puts his TS% above average, while Scola’s remains below average.”

        How can Tyler’s TS% be above average while Scola’s remains below average when Scola’s TS% is better than Tyler’s? Please explain this to me as I must be missing something.

        Yes, true shooting takes into account free throws, 2 pt and 3 pt shots but it appears as if Tyler will have to take and make many more free throws to catch and pass Scola in true shooting percentage.

  4. ryanvenson - Aug 2, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    I like how you claim “What kind of math do you use?” only to offer no math.
    Scola’s career FG% is just over 50%. Hansbrough, just under 43%. Scola averages more points,rebounds and assist. And before you go off half-cocked saying that’s obvious because one has been a starter his entire career and the other has not, a little SIMPLE MATH reveals that Scola averages more points, rebounds, and assist per MINUTE than Hansbrough. On top of ALL OF THAT, he even has a better efficiency rating (+14.82 vs +4,26), which takes in to account things like steals, TO and blocks as well as the aforementioned stats.
    The two are similar players, but your use of the term “more efficient” is a misnomer.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 3, 2013 at 8:36 AM

      Amen ryanvenson…

      Some people don’t like others using stats as he told me not to quote PER to him further above in this thread and yet here he wants math to be used.

      He told me not to say things that were opinions, in so many words, yet in this thread he is going off the top of his head and simply stating things that the facts and math don’t back up.

      Your post is on point and saved me from having to respond to his “what kind of math do you use” rant.

  5. navondusandau - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    If you compare these guys stat wise they’re not even that different, they both score and grab boards at about the same pace and psycho T is a better defender for the most part.

    There are some major issues with Hansborough’s offensive game however, chiefly because of his shot selection and lack of vision/court feel. Once he gets the ball it’s over, he’s shooting it, and he’ll take contested mid range jumpers even though there’s a cutter going to the basket. Not only is this affecting his FG% and TO%, but he could, instead, be making smart passes for easy buckets. That’s not happening and it’s sabotaging the Pacers’ offense when he’s on the court.

    Scola is much more cerebral in that respect and is simply a much more well rounded offensive player who has good range, smart shot selection and has a good overall feel for the game and is a willing passer.

    Defensively it does hurt a little bit, but while hansborough is a high energy guy he’s short with alligator arms, so not a lot of real rim protection goes on there.

    I would love to see the Pacers run with Scola & Granger as the core of the bench unit and leave Lance Stephenson in the starting lineup. It will leave the balanced lineup they trotted out last season intact while giving them a bench unit that can hang with almost everyone.

  6. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 2, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    Scola says it like he had a choice.

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