Toronto Raptors forward Luis Scola has been firing away from long range with effect this season. Nailing 9 three-balls on 17 attempts in his first 13 games, Scola is just one make away from his career total prior to this season and just three attempts fewer than the most he has ever fired up over any previous regular season campaign. This ability to be a long range threat has appeared as head coach Dwane Casey has been forced to deal with the absence of three-point specialist Terrence Ross and some unexpected reluctance to shoot by the usually reliable Patrick Patterson.
“That is part of the game he has evolved to” Casey explained. “A lot of guys when they get older they find something else to lean on more so than speed and athleticism. So now he is going to his three-point shot like Sam Perkins who became an excellent three-point shooter in Seattle at a later age. So I think it’s something that you evolve into as an older player in the league.
“He works on it. I think he is a guy who works on his three-point shot. He does a good job in practice of shooting that shot. (So,) you allow him to take them in the game if you are open. It’s a good shot. He works on it continuously and all the time. He makes them in practice.”
Scola came into this season with a strategy to mold his game to better fit with the current trends in the NBA. Always known as a crafty finisher around the basket, someone who could abuse smaller players in the post and possessing a solid midrange game, Scola rarely stepped out beyond the the three-point line until now. With analytics taking over the league and the stretch-four high on the list of most NBA teams, Scola decided it was time to show he could hit the most productive shot in the game – a corner three.
“I have been working on it a lot,” Scola told Pro Bball Report. “The NBA has been moving in that direction so I think players need to adapt. The coaches like it. It happens to be the most efficient (shot), the corner three. Teams want players to be able to make the corner three and I am working on that.”
Scola has taken over 70 percent of his three-point attempts from the corner so far this season and he has been hitting on an impressive 58.3 percent of them. Opposing teams are going to have to rewrite the scouting report on him. Sagging off of Scola beyond the arc has become a bad idea.
To-date, there haven’t been a high volume of three-balls coming from Scola, but that could easily change. Scola is feeling increased confidence from the coaching staff in his new found stroke and the Raptors need the offense and someone to stretch the floor.
“Once you get the range, once you can make the shot, you got to develop the confidence,” Scola said. “Coaches have a lot to do with that and this coaching staff has been really good with me in that regard.”
The 35-year-old Scola continues to surprise.