Scott Machado was the first new foreign player to join the Israel Basketball League for the 2022/23 season after inking a contract with Ariel Beit Halachmi’s Hapoel Eilat. The point guard joins the Red Sea squad with many years of professional experience after most recently featuring in the Australian League where he played three seasons with Cairns Taipans.
The 32-year old was born in New York to Brazilian parents and attended Iona College where he starred for the Gaels helping the team participate in the NCAA Tournament in his senior year when he averaged 13.6 points and 9.9 assists.
In his first year as a professional, Machado spent time between the NBA and D-League with both the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors during the 2012-13 season. The following year was once again spent in the D-League but in April of 2014 Machado headed for his first foray overseas when he signed with Villeurbanne of the French League.
Following stints with Kalev, Oldenburg, Rasta Vechta and Manresa it was back to the United States where Machado returned to the G-League and the South Bay Lakers as well as the Los Angeles Lakers where he played in 4 games during the 2019 campaign. From there Machado decided to make a move to the NBL where he was named to the Australian League’s First Team while also winning the Fans MVP for the 2020 season. This past year Machado scored 10.2 points and dished out 5.3 assists per game after having averaged 16.6 points and 7.6 assists during the 2019/20 season and 15.6 points and 6.9 assists the following campaign.
In an interesting twist during the summer of 2018, Machado played two games for Maccabi Haifa when they toured the United States and played exhibition contests against a number of NBA teams.
Machado is certainly and interesting person and to get a better understanding of who the New York native is, he spoke to Ballin 4 Peace a number of years back about a myriad of topics.
“Each year I just proved myself and took my game to a new level,” Machado said about his time at Iona. “But even then I still had this underdog mentality. I just wanted to show and prove and make the most out of my time while I was out there playing.”
“I grew so much at Iona,” Machado continued. “Even though they set me up for being a professional as much as possible, I wasn’t aware how your love for the game is very different from just the business side of basketball. I had to learn that quickly. We don’t play this game for the business side. I’ve been playing the game since I was 3 years old. That’s when you think about how much you love it. The game has taken me everywhere.”
In the same interview, the guard also spoke about how things weren’t always easy and simple for him, “I get into the gym and sharpen my game up for a reason. And then when it comes to the show you have to go out there and perform the best that you can. I learned that early in my career after getting cut by the Houston Rockets. Not being able to play with them as much as I wanted to was confusing to me.”
“As for overseas, some things are within your control and some things are out of your control. Not every place has a player’s union to protect you. That is a key thing. You also get to a country where you are taking everything in, from the culture to picking up a new basketball system and not being over there with friends or family. The pressure really is on you because you were brought there to perform. It’s a great experience, don’t get me wrong but it’s not for everybody. You have to be open to new ways and new routines.”
Machado also talked about the expectations his team’s had when he was playing in the G-League, “When you are on an NBA roster and they are sending you down as an assignment, the best thing to do is get clarity on what you need to work on exactly. You can’t assume that the coaches and front office speak about what they want you to do when you are sent down to the G-League. You have to make yourself aware of what they want from you. That was my initial reaction when I first went to the G-League. I think one game I went down and I nearly had a triple-double. The following day I received a phone call from the team informing me that’s not what they wanted me to do. I can’t even remember if we won or lost the game, but that’s something they asked of me.”
In another interview to the Brooklyn Nets website back in 2014, Machado discussed something his father Luiz, a livery cab driver said just four days before he died while in custody of Taxi and Limousine Commission officers after a disagreement went horribly awry. His death was ruled a homicide, one that nearly shattered the hopes and dreams of the close-knit Machado family.
“Our last conversation before he passed away, he said, ‘Always be confident,’” Machado told BrooklynNets.com. “I was playing in the D-League. I had just got traded, and the game before that, I played well but I wasn’t shooting the ball well. He said, ‘Hey man, just play confident. You’ve been doing this all your life. Just play confident.’ So it does give me a little edge. I think of that when I’m down.”
To get an even better understanding of what Machado has to offer both on and off of the court, The Sports Rabbi spoke to a number of his former teammates as well as ace Australian basketball journalist Tom Hersz about the Israeli league’s new floor general.
“Scott Machado was fantastic in the NBL. One of the best import point guards to come through this league in the last decade, he was capable of punishing opponents in multiple ways. He could play the role of facilitator (led league in assists in 19-20, ranked 2nd in 20-21, 4th in 21-22) and formed an especially dangerous duo with Cam Oliver, but Machado could also be a primary scorer when needed.”
“His perimeter game was strong in his first two seasons and his ability to operate in PnR sets, especially with Oliver, or to penetrate and draw contact, get to the rim or kick to a teammate, made him very difficult to contain.”
Hersz continued, “Most importantly, when healthy and surrounded by good teammates, he impacted winning. This was especially true in his first season when he made the All-NBL First Team and was a league MVP contender. The Cairns Taipans stunned everyone to make the playoffs that season, pushing the eventual champions (Perth) to a third and deciding game in the Semi-Finals.
“This past season, he was really hampered by the foot injury he sustained early and never really got going. He also missed playing with Oliver, but Machado was always a true professional. He bought in to what the team was trying to do, mentored younger players and gave as much as he could. I’ll miss his candour, his sense of humour, but mostly his high-level play. The NBL’s loss is the BSL’s gain.”
Chris Kramer who played for Jerusalem last season and was Machado’s teammate in Oldenburg noted, “Scott is a great player who has great experience. He is a great organizer who can also score and is tough in transition and seems to continue to get better each year and adds more consistency to his game.”
Frank Gaines who featured with Machado as Rasta Vechta commented as well on his signing, “Great competitor and one of the best passers I’ve played with. Eilat are getting a really good one for sure.”
Travis Warech, another former teammate from Vechta who has played in Israel over the last number of seasons said, “Scott is a really steady point guard who can really control the tempo of a game. I enjoyed playing alongside him, especially because of his high basketball IQ and great passing ability. He’s a great guy and a great addition to any roster.”
Stephen Zimmerman played with Machado in Australia, “Scott is a basketball lovers dream point guard, high IQ, super willing passer, can stretch the defense with his shooting. Amazing leader and a great guy to have in the locker room. I had a great time playing on the same team as him.”
One last player Arthur Rozenfeld joined forces with Machado in Villeurbanne, “He is a very talented player. When I played with him in France, it was the first time he played overseas and it was a bit difficult for him to be a true point guard because the game in Europe is much different than that of the United States. But you could feel that he had a lot of talent and that he could so a lot of things.
“He is very intense and can play on both sides of the floor. Since his first time in Europe he has gained a lot of experience and has seen a lot of different tings in a lot of different countries. That’s a good quality for player when he arrives at a new team.”