Some think of him as a human victory cigar, others see him as an extra coach on the bench.
Scalabrine does have his fans and back when he played with New Jersey he also had some big games. Scalabrine also gets to NBA Finals, twice with the New Jersey Nets and twice more with the Boston Celtics.
Scalabrine has been a versatile player, happy with his bench role but ready to play when minutes are available. He has played all three frontline positions during his NBA career. As a center, he hustled on defense and stayed around the three-point line on offense.
At power forward, his right position for the NBA, he would be busy setting screens and looking for rebounds and on the defensive end he would try to be the help defender for double-teams.
When used at small forward, a spot where his opponent was often quicker, Scalabrine would work hard to deny them the ball on defense while on offense he would try for a post-up move.
At 6-9, Scalabrine was a versatile college player during his seasons at USC. He could score, rebound and pass the ball. His percentages were very good too. His career averages for his time at Southern California were 15.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. He shot 51.3% from the field and a solid 77% from the free throw line.
New Jersey then drafted him with the 35th pick, early in the second round, of the 2000 NBA draft.
There were times when New Jersey had injuries and Scalabrine was needed, and he did have some big games. One of his famous games was in the 2004 NBA Playoffs, the game lasted three overtimes and he hit 4 three-pointers in a win. During the 2004-05 regular season, he had a game of 29 points and 10 assists.
After four useful years with the Nets, Scalabrine was signed as a free agent by the Boston Celtics. During his five years with the Celtics, his minutes went up and down with a high 19 minutes one season and a low of 9 minutes per game in another. He gave the Celtics a shooter to use at power forward, changing the look of their team when they needed it.
One thing that may have made Scalabrine popular with Boston management was his choice of number. President of Basketball Operations of the Celtics Danny Ainge could sit in his seat under the basket and watch a few minutes each game of a player running around in his old number.
Scalabrine wore number 44 with the Boston Celtics. With the Nets he was number 21 and with the Bulls he was number 24, and also had number 24 in college. Both 21, Bill Sharman, and 24, Sam Jones, are retired numbers at Boston.
The fans at Boston used to enjoy chanting his name at the end of games when they were winning, but that came to an end when Scalabrine left as a free agent. With the Celtics adding the two O’Neals, and drafting forward Harangody, there wasn’t room for Scalabrine on the roster.
As a former Celtics’ assistant coach was now the head coach of the Bulls, Scalabrine joined Chicago. The fans in Boston were still loyal to him, and when the Bulls visited Boston for a game they still chanted Scalabrine’s name and applauded when he entered the game.