Consistent workouts leading up to draft night have positioned Scott Machado to possibly become first-ever Iona player drafted in first round of NBA Draft. (Photo courtesy of New York Daily News)
Ten men have come out of Iona College in New Rochelle to hear their names called as selections in the NBA Draft, most notably former New York Knicks standout Richie Guerin and former star center Jeff Ruland, who returned some two decades later to coach the Gaels in the late 1990s and most of the 2000s. Half of these ten are actually in the record books for having played professionally, the most recent of which being Sean Green in 1994.
The man who stands to become number eleven on that list has a skill set unlike any of his predecessors that have jumped from Westchester to the professional ranks, one that could potentially make him the first Iona product to be announced as a first-round selection by commissioner David Stern, and the first opening-round choice from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference since Rider's Jason Thompson was taken twelfth overall four years ago by the Sacramento Kings.
Scott Machado may stand just 6-2, but in a world where bigger is perceived as better based on recent point guard selections, the Queens product is living proof that good things really do come in small packages. Last summer, hardly anyone would have expected someone like Machado to be on this precipice less than one year later. Yet through an offseason conditioning program highlighted by competing for Brazil (Machado's parents were born there) in the World University Games, Iona's point guard passed just as well as he scored, facilitating his way into the mindsets of NBA scouts across the country by leading the nation with an average of nearly ten assists per game. Machado's rebounding ability was also unlike most other point guards in Division I, as he unleashed his inner New Yorker by relentlessly attacking the basket. Scott's triple-double on February 12th against Marist was just the second in Iona history, and proved once and for all that the next Steve Nash or Jason Kidd may be tucked away just beyond the Bronx/Westchester border at a school located a mere 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan.
Machado has been projected in a wide range of positions leading up to the NBA Draft on June 28th, with analysts speculating he could land anywhere from the end of the first round to perhaps the 60th and final pick. Where would the reigning MAAC Player of the Year fit best, you might ask? Here are some of the teams that could make history by taking a well-deserved shot on one of the most gifted players in the nation.
Dallas Mavericks (Selections: 17th and 55th overall) - The 2011 NBA champions will almost certainly be in the market for someone to replace future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd, and with the future of Deron Williams still in limbo at the moment, it is not inconceivable to suggest that the Mavs may go after someone who resembled Kidd during his senior campaign at Iona. The Mavericks would certainly be reaching for Machado with their first-round choice, considering he will likely be there in the second round; but he could just as easily be off the board in the second, so Dallas may have to trade up if they are intent on adding Machado to a roster that includes Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry.
Miami Heat (Selections: 27th overall) - The team Dallas defeated for their NBA championship is two wins away from a shot at their second title in seven years, and although the New World Order of the NBA just drafted Norris Cole a year ago to serve as Mario Chalmers' understudy, Machado would certainly add depth to the roster. In fact, his ball handling and distribution would only augment the skill sets of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James to the point where both players could see increases in their productivity. Just look at what Machado was able to do for Mike Glover and Momo Jones at Iona last season. Scott's earliest draft projection was listed at 26th overall, one spot ahead of the Heat; but with Indiana on the clock and Paul George already entrenched at the point for the Pacers, Miami would be in perfect position to lure Machado to South Beach.
Brooklyn Nets (Selections: 57th overall) - Both local teams are contenders for Machado's services, and with the newly-transplanted New Jersey franchise having moved across the Holland and Battery Tunnels, the need for the organization to find a new face to build around is greater than ever now that their first-round pick went to Portland in the aftermath of the Gerald Wallace trade. The ability of the Nets to re-sign Deron Williams may have taken a hit after last week's draft lottery, so Brooklyn will most likely be going for a point guard if they can get one in the second round. The Nets only have the 57th overall pick at the moment, which puts them in the same boat with Dallas in that an upward move would represent Brooklyn's best chance of keeping Machado in the metropolitan area.
New York Knicks (Selections: 48th overall) - Baron Davis isn't getting any younger, the phenomenon otherwise known as Jeremy Lin is an unrestricted free agent, and Iman Shumpert is recovering from a torn ACL and MCL. Therefore, why not go for someone like Machado, who can step in and start right away for the Knickerbockers? Machado already worked out for the team two weeks ago, and experience both at Madison Square Garden and in the New York market makes him not only a media favorite, but also a headline going into training camp. New head coach Mike Woodson maintained the system honed to perfection by former head man Mike D'Antoni, and with his similarity to Steve Nash, Machado seems tailor-made for the Knick system. Throw in a 48th overall selection that seems to be the consensus average of where Machado will end up on draft night, and the hometown product looks too good to pass up.
Orlando Magic (Selections: 19th and 49th overall) - With Jameer Nelson having a player option this offseason, the Magic could also be looking for a successor at the point to team up with Jason Richardson and a disgruntled Dwight Howard. Speaking of their star center, if Howard comes across an Iona highlight reel showing what Machado was able to do for Mike Glover, the man known as "Superman" could ultimately change his tune about wanting to leave the Magic Kingdom. While the Magic would be reaching for Machado with their initial selection, he has a very good chance of falling into their lap at No. 49 if the Knicks look elsewhere; and even if Nelson decides to remain in Orlando, Machado should see immediate minutes for a playoff team in the Eastern Conference if he gets to go to Disney World.
Portland Trail Blazers (Selections: 6th, 11th, 40th and 41st overall) - The Blazers' course of action on draft night will be determined with their first of four picks. It is widely suspected that Portland will use one of their two lottery choices on North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall, which would of course eliminate the need to select Machado in the second round. However, should the Blazers manage to land Andre Drummond in the No. 6 spot (which could realistically happen) and somehow miss out on Marshall before going back on the clock at No. 11, Machado could be the man with one of their back-to-back second round picks. On a team that is established up front with LaMarcus Aldridge, their backcourt is not nearly as secure given that incumbent point guard Raymond Felton has a player option the same way Jameer Nelson does in Orlando. Should the former national champion decide to leave the Rose Garden, do not be surprised to see Machado in consideration for either of Portland's final selections.
Once again, A Daly Dose Of Hoops will have continuing draft coverage in the days and weeks to come, so keep coming back for updates leading up to the June 28th selection festvities from the Prudential Center in Newark.