Let’s get crazy – What if Utah Jazz added Argentina and FIBA star Luis Scola?

BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 13: Luis Scola #4 of Argentina celebrate after their team's win against France during the semi-finals of 2019 FIBA World Cup match between Argentina and France at Beijing Wukesong Sport Arena on September 13, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 13: Luis Scola #4 of Argentina celebrate after their team's win against France during the semi-finals of 2019 FIBA World Cup match between Argentina and France at Beijing Wukesong Sport Arena on September 13, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images) /

It’s almost certainly crazy talk, but just imagine if the Utah Jazz were able to add the FIBA-star version of Luis Scola to their ranks.

Alright, alright hold it right there and calm down. Go ahead and put your torch and pitchfork away and forget that angry comment about how stupid I am that you already started formulating in your mind to post at the bottom of this article. In spite of the title of this post, I know that the odds of the Utah Jazz adding former NBA player Luis Scola to their fold are slim to none.

But after seeing how prolific he has been in FIBA play, isn’t it intriguing to at least wonder about it? Scola has been an absolute force throughout his play for Argentina in the FIBA World Cup as he’s averaging 19.3 points per game on 46.9 percent shooting from the field and 45.8 percent from deep with close to two attempts per game. He’s also pulling down 8.1 rebounds per contest, which is good for 11.3 per 40 minutes.

More importantly, Scola has led an Argentina team without a single NBA player on its roster all the way to the FIBA World Cup Championship where they’ll have a chance at gold when they play Spain on Sunday at 6:00 AM MT. Most recently, Scola made mince meat out of Rudy Gobert and his French team in the semi-finals. Luis went off to the tune of 28 points and 13 rebounds whereas Rudy had just three points on 1-of-3 shooting, and while he logged a solid 11 rebounds, he had just one blocked shot and was rendered largely ineffective.


Just one game removed from dominating the United States, Gobert responded with one of his worst performances of FIBA at the worst possible time. Instead, it was 39-year-old former NBA player Luis Scola who ruled the day.

Seeing Scola take care of business against some of the greatest players from around the world, including the team that just toppled a Team USA comprised of all NBA guys has been an incredible sight to behold. And, in some ways, it begs the question – is Scola deserving of an NBA return?

We just saw former Jazzman Joe Johnson work his way back to an NBA contract with the Detroit Pistons by shining in the BIG3 at age 38. Could Scola’s FIBA run earn him the same kind of respect and interest? And if it did, what if the Jazz were to take a look?

As zany as it sounds, it actually makes sense in some regards. For example, after losing Derrick Favors and to a lesser extent Ekpe Udoh, the Jazz are definitely somewhat short on size. Yes, they added Jeff Green, who largely plays the power forward spot, and Ed Davis, and are putting high hopes on Tony Bradley filling that third-string center role, but it would be nice for them to have a little more depth in their frontcourt, especially against teams that play two true bigs.

Some matchups could create headaches for fours such as Jeff Green, Georges Niang or whichever forward such as Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanovic or Royce O’Neale is asked to slide to the power forward spot, and having a little more security at the position could be useful. In years past, the Gobert-Favors pairing could mitigate double-big lineups rolled out by opponents, but it’s hard to see Davis and Gobert sharing much (if any) floor time together, and there’s little else they could turn to in those spots.

And although Jeff Green is nearly the same size, Scola has far more experience taking on opposing bigs and could provide that nice additional frontcourt presence when Utah’s other power forward options just aren’t working.

Not only that, but he’s a veteran player with an incredible amount of basketball savvy and experience. It’s widely known that championship-caliber teams need veteran leadership of that level from players who have experienced lengthy playoff runs and high-stake situations, and know how to handle them. Scola’s wisdom and ability to be a mentor to a Jazz team with several young players could be crucial.

Last of all, the Jazz still have an open roster spot as it’s believed that the final one will come down to a training camp battle between Stanton Kidd and William Howard. Both of those players may still have diamond-in-the-rough promise, but the Jazz are seeking a championship this season, and adding a more steady vet may fit more with a win-now mentality.

Not to mention, the Jazz have long been known as a team with players of several varying nationalities on their roster. Though they lost the Spanish Ricky Rubio and the Swiss Thabo Sefolosha this summer, they did add Bojan Bogdanovic from Croatia and Emmanuel Mudiay who is of Congolese descent, so putting an Argentinian on the team could be a nice addition to also pair alongside French Rudy Gobert and Australians Dante Exum and Joe Ingles.

With all that said, despite these somewhat intriguing reasons, especially after seeing Scola look like the best player on the floor in several FIBA contests, it’s unlikely he gets much consideration from the Salt Lake City squad. After all, his age is a concern as the grind of an 82-game season is far different from a couple-week long FIBA stint.

Not only that, but sometimes players are simply better suited for and perform better in international play. Though the sport is the same, the game is wildly different, and Scola may be an example of one who can thrive in FIBA play but isn’t truly cut out for the rigors of the NBA at this point in his career. After all, in his most recent stint back in 2016-17 with the Brooklyn Nets, he managed just 5.1 points in 12.8 minutes per game while appearing in just 36 contests.

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So, while the fun of FIBA might make a Scola-to-Utah dream a fun one to fantasize, it certainly isn’t a likely one. Then again, the Jazz front office led by Dennis Lindsey and Justin Zanik has never been one to shy away from calculated risks. So perhaps they could surprise us all and pursue a proven winner in Luis Scola that has apparently discovered a fountain of youth.

I would be absolutely shocked to see that take place, but hey, stranger things have most certainly happened.