Scola excited to be part of Suns' transformation
JUL 17, 2012 6:15p ET
If the writing were not already on the wall for Luis Scola this offseason, the Houston Rockets confirmed it with a post-NBA Draft phone call: His days as a Rocket were numbered.
While Scola was surprised to leave Houston via the amnesty clause instead of a trade, he soon received another surprise — a pleasant one — in learning he'd been picked up by the Phoenix Suns.
"When I found out it was Phoenix I was a little surprised because there was a lot of talking between some other teams that supposedly were going to bid," Scola said during a conference call Tuesday. "I started thinking, and I think it's a great situation. ... The more I think about it, the more I want to go there and play."
Scola, a 6-foot-9 forward who is currently prepping for the Olympics with the Argentinean national team, had heard most from the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers, with both telling him they would bid for his services. The Suns never seemed like a possibility, probably in part because they already had a crowded frontcourt.
With a group of big men which includes Markieff Morris, Channing Frye, Hakim Warrick and Marcin Gortat, with Michael Beasley soon to join the fold, Scola is not yet sure where he fits. Suns coach Alvin Gentry isn't certain, either, but with that kind of depth, he hardly seems concerned.
"If we're having trouble with really good players finding minutes, then we're in great shape," Gentry said. "I think it's going to be a great situation. It makes a competitive situation."
The return of restricted free agent Robin Lopez, a distinct possibility, would make for even more of a crowd. But Gentry noted that Frye could miss part of the early season while recovering from a partially dislocated shoulder suffered on April 21.
Based on past production, Scola, 32, figures to be among the Suns' top three big men. Much will obviously be determined once training camp rolls around, but Scola, alongside Gortat, could help the Suns establish a scoring presence in the post not seen since Amare Stoudemire departed in free agency two seasons ago. Scola averaged 15.5 points last season, following a career-high 18.3 the year before.
Scola admits to some uncertainty about how his playing style meshes with the Suns' famously up-tempo offense.
"I try to adapt to any style that the team wants to play," Scola said. "I'm really not sure of the things I need to work on to fit better with the team right now."
The adjustment process figures to be shared by the entire roster, which has undergone a radical transformation with the loss of — among others — Steve Nash and Grant Hill and the addition of Scola, Beasley, Goran Dragic and Kendall Marshall. Scola and Dragic played together last year in Houston.
"I've been a Sun for barely two days and it’s really hard for me to analyze changes the organization has made this summer," Scola said. "I'm just happy to be there. I think we have a good situation right now. I think we have a good team. I think we have some work to do, but we have some talent."
Scola has never been known for his defensive prowess, but there seems to be no delusions on the Suns' part in that regard.
What they are getting is another capable offensive threat, and Gentry also sees in Scola an intangible which recently has been drained from the Suns roster with the departures of Nash and Hill — veteran leadership.
"He's been a really good player on that Argentinean Olympic team," Gentry said. "If you look at the guys they've surrounded him with there, the fact that he has kind of stood out on that team tells me a lot.
Scola said he plans to do what he's always done once he joins his new Suns teammates.
"I try to lead by example and work as hard as I can," Scola said. "Those things I think always help to be a leader. That's what I did in Houston, and that's what I'll try to do in Phoenix."