Utah Jazz: Injury situation opens door for point guards like Scott Machado
SALT LAKE CITY — Scott Machado didn’t grow up in Utah or play at the Marriott Center during his collegiate career.
But the former Iona star knows he is a part of BYU basketball lore.
And, yes, the point guard has apparently been reminded of the Cougars’ NCAA tournament record 25-point comeback win over his Gaels in 2012 a time or two hundred since joining the Utah Jazz this fall.
“All the time,” he said when asked if any Cougar fans talk to him about the First Four rally. “That's the only reason why I get noticed out here.”
Because of Trey Burke’s broken finger, Machado has been thrust into a potentially big role with the NBA team that he’s still trying to make.
Veteran John Lucas III has moved into a starting role now that Burke has been sidelined after undergoing surgery Tuesday. The injury situation leaves the Jazz searching for best options for a temporary No. 2 point guard for however long Burke is out. Machado was the third playmaker off the bench in the Jazz's first two preseason games, ahead of roster hopeful Lester Hudson. Another strong possibility is playing shooting guard Alec Burks out of position.
Machado, who played five games for Houston and Golden State in 2012-13, hopes to emerge as a viable option.
“I feel so bad that something like that had to happen (to Burke),” he said. “But if the opportunity shows, I’ve got to take advantage of it — just to be able to show what I can do.”
Before Tuesday’s practice, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin spoke optimistically about the 6-foot-1, 202-pounder’s ability to fill that backup point guard position.
“He’s pushing the pace that we want. He’s getting more and more comfortable now,” Corbin said. “He knows he’ll get more reps on the floor. It’s a big opportunity for him.”
Corbin reflected back to his 16-year NBA career, saying he knows what it’s like to suddenly get a chance because of a teammate’s misfortune.
“You look for the opportunity and now do you step up and get it done?” Corbin said. “I think he will relish in the moment. We’ll see what happens there. He is the guy that we have now to try and take that spot.”
It’s still uncertain how long Burke will be gone — he’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks — so it’s possible the Jazz could make a move to bring in a free agent or pull off a trade to enhance the point guard depth chart.
Burks has also been seeing more time in practice in that ballhandling position. Corbin is very confident that the third-year pro can fill the need on a temporary basis.
“Heck, last year we started him at the point for us for a few games,” Corbin said. “He can play both positions. I don’t have any problem with him playing that (for a short time). It’s just not his position. His position is a two man.”
Then again, Corbin hinted that it’s possible he could start the 6-6 Burks at point guard instead of the 5-11 Lucas if it gave the Jazz a matchup advantage at the one spot.
Small forward Gordon Hayward, who had eight assists in the Jazz's first preseason game, will also be looked at to facilitate teammates once the offense is running.
“As I told the guys (Monday), everybody has to be ready to go,” Corbin said. “We’ll move some things around here to see what gives us the best chance going forward. Just be ready to play.”
Though Lucas only has two starts in the first five seasons of his NBA career, his new coach has confidence in the gritty 30-year-old. The Jazz like that Lucas can pop from the outside, lead teammates and make an offense flow.
“He knows what he’s getting ready to face. He understands that if he starts or come off the bench, he’ll be ready to go,” Corbin said of Lucas. “He’s been really good in practices. He’s been really good in the games for us. He’s looking forward to his opportunity. (Monday) in practice, I thought that he was one of the more energetic guys, one of the more vocal guys that made the right plays for his team."
Machado, who went undrafted in 2012, believes that applies to him, too.
“I feel like I know how to lead a team,” he said. “I know how to help teams get a good shot, just be like a leader on the court, just be a floor general, try to run the team as good as I possibly can.”
Machado, who ranks 17th on the NCAA’s assist list, also knows how to smile when reminded about a certain 78-72 loss to a school that’s now in his neck of the woods.
Now the 2012 MAAC player of the year hopes to give Beehive State basketball fans another reason to remember him.
He knows that opportunity’s there more than it was before Burke was injured Saturday. That’s just the cruel way of the NBA.
“Once I get that chance, I feel like I can show what I can do,” he said. “It’s excitement really.”
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