Even after changing and shipping parts of its roster to other destinations last summer, Indiana’s bench remains a liability.
Luis Scola, the player Indiana gave up its 2014 first-round draft pick for has a -45 plus/minus during the 2014 playoffs. It ranks as the tenth worst point differential out of all postseason participants. He isn’t the only Indiana bench member on that list, however. Evan Turner has the fourth worst (-53), and Ian Mahinmi has the same differential as Scola.
At 6-foot-9, 240 pounds he does not have imposing size to overpower power forwards or quickness to go around them. His range stretches out to 20 feet but he hasn’t hit shots there accurately in months. He can’t protect the paint or rebound well. If I was Frank Vogel, I would consider going with Chris Copeland or Rasual Butler full time for the rest of the postseason. Both stretch the floor and can open up driving lanes for Lance Stephenson to create when he runs the bench unit.
They might not prove any better, but they can’t be any worse.
To see why, let’s take a look at Scola’s play during Game 2.
Scola’s bad defense isn’t news. He has slow feet defending in space and a sieve in the post.
In the above clip, Scola sits back and waits on Dwyane Wade to make his move. But Wade slithers past him and Scola commits a foul. It seems trivial at the moment; putting Wade on the free throw line is more desirable than him at the rim, but fouls like this puts Indiana quicker in the bonus and pressure mounts on the starters to play safer on defense.
Scola is averaging 4.5 fouls per 36 minutes.
This is egregiously bad.
When this happened live, I expected more of a reaction from Twitter. No one is surprised anymore, I guess.
Let’s get another angle.
Not sure what that is but sure.
It isn’t just defense, however.
Scola is shooting 15-of-48 (31%) from the mid-range area in the playoffs. If he’s not making the 17-footer teams are giving up and getting steamrolled on defense, there’s little rationality in giving him minutes.
Here, we see Scola, after slipping a screen, catching a pass from Stephenson and missing a baseline jumper. He plays minimal minutes and needs to do something productive with it. He cannot miss shots like this.
It may be acceptable if he was close, but the ball barely hit iron. He didn’t shoot with any confidence and appears to be affected from the flying Birdman in his vision. A more confident shooter might be able to even draw a foul here.
Here, Scola starts off with a weak screen before getting the ball on a pick and pop. You don’t want to have him put the ball on the floor. Miami’s defense will eat him alive. Just see what happens.
I understand Vogel doesn’t want to give up the theoretical size advantage with Scola at power forward but with only five possible games remaining against Miami, change is needed.