When the Toronto Raptors inked veteran power forward Luis Scola to a contract last off-season, they expected to be getting a backup to Patrick Patterson.
After Patterson inspired little confidence offensively in the preseason, Scola was anointed the team's starter and ran with the gig. In addition to the post-up game he had made his living on for his whole career, Scola showed off a proficient new weapon - the three-point shot.
It was a tale of two halves for the former second-round pick, as he impressed the Raptors and the fanbase before the all-star break. As the season wore on, Scola began to slow down as fatigue caught up with him. His numbers dipped and by the time the playoffs rolled around, he was bordering on unplayable.
Before you read any further, it is highly encouraged to check out Scola's Top 10 plays of the season. Leigh Ellis is probably jumping for joy after watching this collection of 'Very Solid Plays.'
Scola started all 76 regular season games he played in, logging 21.5 minutes per outing. He averaged 8.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks and 0.9 turnovers. The Aregentinian shot 45 per cent from the field, 40 per cent from three-point land and 73 per cent from the free-throw line. His numbers dropped considerably across the board once the playoffs rolled around, only appearing in 11 of the team's 20 post-season contests.
Nov. 3, 2015 vs. Dallas Mavericks:
Coming into this game at 3-0, the Raptors had a huge chance to prove themselves as contenders early in the season with a back-to-back set against the Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder. In the front end in Dallas, Scola logged one of his three double-doubles on the season, contributing 19 points, 12 boards and two steals on 9-of-13 shooting from the floor. Toronto would go on to win the game and surprise the Thunder the next night in Oklahoma. With a 5-0 record, the Raptors showed early that they would be a favourite in the Eastern Conference.
April 23, 2016 vs. Indiana Pacers:
Game 4 of the Raptors' first-round series with the Pacers was the nail in Scola's coffin. He was getting exposed on defence all series long and was also failing to provide any offence. In Game 4, a 17-point loss for the Raptors, he finished 0-for-5 and missed all four of his three-point attempts. Scola would go on to sit out nine of Toronto's next 10 games.
Strengths and Weaknesses:
+ Great role model for the younger players on the team
+ Possesses some crafty moves in the post to create his own offence.
+ Proved capable of knocking down wide open threes.
+ The hair
- Defensive liability due to lack of foot speed
- Seemingly needs more time than Amir Johnson to get a three-pointer up
- Does not offer any rim protection to speak of
Role Next Season:
The 36-year-old Scola is set to hit free agency and likely will not be back in Raptors colours in 2016-17. He made just shy of $3 million this past season and could command a similar contract with the cap about to rise. Toronto should look to move on if he falls in that price range. Scola probably isn't cracking the rotation of a true title-contending team, but would serve as an admirable fill-in for a handful of games should injury hit. He's also a great guy to have around on the bench and in the locker room. If he can be had on the cheap, the Raptors could look to bring him back to play mentor.
A GIF to Sum it All Up: