The Indiana Pacers are facing an uncertain offseason with no cap room and plenty of needs as they prepare for next season. One name that comes up a lot with uncertainty is veteran power forward Luis Scola, who quite simply did not live up to expectations last season.
Indiana gave up a large amount in return for Scola, and it might already be time to move on from him.
Despite all of the issues that he had down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs, he did have moments that he showed exactly why the Pacers chose to acquire him. He has a very unique skill set, and his offensive game can be potent when he is playing at full capability.
Unfortunately for the Pacers, his shot completely left him towards the end of the season, and he wasn’t able to play defense either.
Indiana prides themselves on playing strong defense first before worrying about offense, and Scola simply doesn’t come close to fitting that mindset. He makes up for some of his lack of athletic ability with his smart play, but it isn’t enough to make him an average defender.
All that being said, head coach Frank Vogel continued to play him through the struggles for reasons that every Pacers fan simply couldn’t understand.
Scola does possess a great veteran presence that is healthy to have in every locker room, but his contract is much too large for what he really brings to the court. With the Pacers being pressed for money, cutting Scola might be the only move that they can make to relieve enough cap room to make a move or two.
He averaged 7.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, but that simply wasn’t the type of production that Indiana was hoping to get out of him. At the beginning of the year, Scola’s mid-range shot looked great and the Pacers were getting the type of energy that they were hoping to receiver.
At the end of the year, Scola had an injured elbow that had a negative impact on his shot, but also wasn’t playing with the same type of energy that he gave at the beginning of the season.
His shot chart clearly shows that his shooting as a whole was not too shabby for the entire season, but those numbers dropped dramatically in the second half of the year after the All-Star break. It could have simply been his elbow injury that messed with his consistency, but it also seemed that age caught up with him.
There is still a good chance that Larry Bird and Vogel decide to bring Scola back, but it quite simply would not be a good idea.
If the Pacers decided to make the right move and release Scola this offseason, they would have plenty of players that could step in and replace him. Chris Copeland played very well in limited minutes this past season, and is viewed as a stretch power forward.
Bird also mentioned in a post-draft interview that he would like to keep LaVoy Allen around, who could play well as a backup power forward as well.
Overall, it simply makes the most sense for the Pacers to move on from Scola this offseason. He was a fan favorite for the majority of the season, but he fell off and became a liability. If the Pacers truly want to make a run at a championship this year, they need to find a way to improve their bench. There isn’t a way to improve the bench without clearing some money off the books, and Scola is the only realistic option to do that.
Evan Massey is a Staff Writer for HoopsHabit.com.