5:15 pm Sep. 10, 20121
Not only did the Houston Rockets take away the man most assumed would be the starting point guard for the New York Knicks, Jeremy Lin, they're set to employ a New York product and onetime possible backup for Lin as well.
The Rockets announced last Tuesday that they had signed Scott Machado, the free agent rookie out of Iona, to a three-year contract. Machado will battle Courtney Fortson for the role backing up Lin, but Machado's superior passing skills should help him to prevail pretty easily. He'll also need to outplay Toney Douglas, which shouldn't be hard.
In Machado, the Rockets are getting a very different player from Lin, though his story is somewhat similar. Like Lin, Machado played extremely well in college at a mid-major school. Machado and Iona were a bit of a college story last season, and Machado led the N.C.A.A. in assists.
But doubts existed about Machado's ability to excel at the professional level. The primary concern was Machado's speed and athleticism for his size; at less than 6'1" without shoes, he was undersized, and lacked the plus quickness and jumping ability to make up for it.
Still, Machado's strengths—better than 40 percent from three-point range, absurd passing skills—make him an interesting complement to Lin, whose relative weakness has been his outside shot. Neither player, it must be said, excels on the defensive end, but the two will give the Rockets very different looks.
Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni may well do a serviceable job at the point for the Knicks. But you can imagine how the Madison Square Garden would have received the pairing of Lin and Machado, an underdog who comes from Queens. Or, actually, best not to.