Back in November when the G League season started, the South Bay Lakers were regarded as one of the finest teams due to them maintaining a stellar pairing of two-way players in Alex Caruso and Vander Blue. For Caruso, the intrigue came from a strong performance in Vegas Summer League and an incredibly strong rookie campaign with the OKC Blue.
Meanwhile, Blue entered the season actually looking to make an impact on the NBA level after shining in the G League for a few years. Just in the previous campaign, he ended the season as G League MVP after putting up 24.8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.6 steals per game on 43% from the field and 35% from beyond the arc. Those solid averages allowed him to maintain a 57% True Shooting Percentage, which stood as a career-best
Unfortunately, the optimism surrounding Blue eventually depreciated as the solid efficiency he showed in the prior season just evaporated. In 15 games with South Bay, he averaged 19 points, 5.3 assists, 1.5 steals per game on 39% from the field and 33% from beyond the arc. Those shooting woes pushed his True Shooting Percentage down to a lackluster 51%.
His struggles with South Bay combined with being unable to get on the court with Los Angeles eventually pushed him to get released on January 12th. At the time of his release, South Bay sat at 15-10 which put them as the 2nd seed in the West. However, that strong positioned might’ve seemed temporary as there were 2.5 games that separated them from the 9th seeded Aqua Caliente Clippers. With Blue gone, the jury was out on whether they could hold on to that spot for the rest of the season.
Despite the disappointment of losing Blue, the Lakers got even better as the season went on as their plethora of role players were able to step up the plate. One of those weapons that has been spectacular is veteran guard Scott Machado, who the team picked up in that year’s NBA G League Draft. Although he was a key figure within the team’s during the early stages of the season, he’s really picked up the past over the last month or so.
Since the start of February, Machado has flirted with averaging a double-double as he’s put up 17.7 points, 9.6 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game on 44% from the field and 43% from beyond the arc. As easily apparent from those numbers, he’s been shining as possibly the best facilitator in the G League due to that great assist average and maintaining a 2.6 Ast/TO ratio.
That kind of production shouldn’t be surprising if you’ve been following his career as Machado has stood as an elite facilitator since he was at Iona back in 2012. No matter if he’s in the G League, Spain, France or Germany, Machado has been able to put those talents on full display as a true pass-first point guard
Although he’s been solid in the past, I really believe that his best play has come as a member of the South Bay Lakers. In association with him his incredible numbers, he just seems a lot more comfortable with working as the leader of a team. Whenever he comes down the court, its clear that Machado has an idea of what he’s going to do and how he’s going to do it. The 27-year old veteran is able to quickly read a defense and also recognize where each of his teammates are going to be when he decides to become a facilitator.
Those two traits has allowed him to be a huge threat as a drive-and-dish distributor as he can lure the defense in with his quick penetrating ability before dishing it out to the perimeter shooter or an off-ball cutter. The video compilation below shows several video examples of Machado’s brilliance as a facilitator.
With Machado leading the way as the team’s main facilitator and as a veteran leader, the South Bay Lakers are currently sitting with a 28-18 record and as the 2nd best team in the Western Conference. As of the time of this piece, they’re just one victory away from securing a playoff spot.
Although he’s stood as a solid backcourt threat since he turned pro six years ago, there’s no question that Scott Machado is playing his best basketball during the current season. Will he be able to carry that amazing play when the playoffs begin and help push the Lakers to a G League title? We’ll have to wait and see when that starts later this month.