At 35 years old, Toronto Raptors forward Luis Scola is still active in the NBA after ten years. Things have changed drastically in NBA basketball over the last ten years, but especially in the last five. More threes are being taken than ever before and small-ball is becoming less of a concept and more of a necessity.
Scola is one of the few veteran bigs left in the NBA who can still compete because of his tacit skill set and consistent motor. He averaged double digits through the first six seasons of his career and has never finished a season with an effective field goal percentage under 47 percent. Now, Scola simply can’t hang with the athleticism of today’s forwards. The versatility of today’s bigs and forwards has progressed, and Scola, whose Raptors are now up 2-1 in their first round playoff series against the Pacers, talked about it that progression this week.
(via James Herbert of CBS Sports):
The wise Luis Scola, reflecting on how his job has changed pic.twitter.com/UrgdVvSlSs
— James Herbert (@outsidethenba) April 19, 2016
Whoa, remember when Carlos Boozer was an actual relevant post threat? That might be for another time.
But think about just how different things are for someone like Scola, who has always been mobile and restless but not at all reliant on natural speed and athleticism. We have the likes of Draymond Green at power forward now, who should be a small forward but also plays some center, and he can shoot and put the ball on the floor. To counter Scola’s point about offensive rebounding today, what makes someone like Green so valuable is the effort he also puts in on the glass.
We also have players like Kevin Durant and LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony being used more at power forward to expand versatility and create mismatches for slower bigs, like Luis Scola, who would never have any business matching up with any of the aforementioned.
It should help you to appreciate the players like Scola who can still produce purely on skill and pride, and it goes further to show just how much the league is progressing when it comes to front court play when you hear it from someone like him.