I’m not going to get into whether Iona should have been selected in the tournament. That’s not my world. I’ve seen this team dismantle opponents at times with a style that can be very fun to watch.
It’s an up and down pace that centers around the decision making of Machado, who led the nation in assists at 9.9 per game (though for the better part of the season he was in double digits.)
What I like most about Machado is that his best shooter, sophomore Sean Armand, plays with him on a string. He always knows when to find the hot hand. The same can be said for Momo Jones, the transfer from Arizona, who enjoys playing on the big stage.
There are a handful of point guards who I think are underrated in this draft, and Machado has caught the eye of many NBA teams, but this tournament is an important platform for Machado to showcase his ability to lead and win.
I’m a fan of his size and strength, but he often passes up on wide open threes and forces a pass, thus making him, at times, PASSIVE not PASS FIRST. This is why you have to take his high field goal percentage (49%) for what it’s truly worth as he’s only taken double digit attempts in 13 games. That’s unselfish, sure, but you have to be able to make open shots to get rotation minutes at the next level.
That said, Machado does have ability to hit timely shots. I’ve seen him make jumpers when his team really needed them. His shooting form has developed into more of a wrist, high release, rotation stroke than a push from the shoulder release. Not where it needs to be, but it has developed tremendously over his career. And when he really needs to, he can put the ball on the floor to draw fouls on big men. He avoids this sometimes instead settling to kick out for jump shots.
Defensively, I haven’t been impressed with his ability to get into offensive players and get them to pick up their dribble. He does play the passing lanes well, but that leads him to take chances and lose site of his man and the ball.
If you enjoy pass-first point guards, keep an eye on Machado vs. BYU tomorrow night.
– Sees the floor and gets teammates touches in their spots consistently.
– Handles pressure as well as anyone in the nation in terms of on-ball defense.
– Ability to hit key shots in pressure moments.
– Passing. Scorer’s dream PG.
– Can rebound above taller players if he has to.
– Often times becomes passive with his shot, fine line between this and being “pass-first”
– Overall defensive ability. Can he defend two positions?
– Composure has improved greatly, but he still let’s his emotions get the best of him
Tommy Dee is the founder of TheKnicksBlog, editor of CHARGED Magazine and is a regional scout for Marty Blake and Associates. If you like what you read here, feel free to follow his other thoughts on Twitter.