By Chris Connolly
With the recent retirement of Jason Kidd it seems like a good time to address the future of Pablo Prigioni with the New York Knicks. If it wasn’t obvious that the Knicks needed to retain Prigioni before, it has become even more evident now. Prigioni emerged as a bright spot for the Knicks this season after coming over from Europe. Credit Glen Grunwald and his staff for another great find overseas. Although Pablo’s numbers aren’t going to wow you, it’s his presence beyond the boxscore that is key. The Knicks may look to explore other options in regards to back court help through the draft or in free agency, but in contrast, Pablo adds stability to the roster that is needed. You know what you are going to get from Prig. He is going to provide energy, leadership and the ability to run a Knicks offense that is sometimes stagnant.
Throughout the Knicks season, it is my belief that Coach Woodson buried Prig on the bench far too often. This became a major topic of conversation in the Pacer series, when at times Woodson would sit Prig for entire quarters. This was an issue for a lot of the season; it just became a more glaring problem when the Knicks were losing. Woodson would start Prigioni, and then take him out in favor of J.R. Smith or Jason Kidd, and we wouldn’t see him until the start of the second half. Giving Prig a more guaranteed role on the team may be a deciding factor in whether he stays or goes.
On the offensive end, Prig has displayed the ability to knock down the open shot. Though he isn’t the biggest offensive threat, you must at least respect his shot making. Prig was at his best this season when he was penetrating and creating for others. He showed that he could get into the paint and throw a lob to Chandler, or kick the ball out for an open 3. He is a facilitator on the court, and allows other players to stretch the floor. Prigioni understands that his role on the team is to make everyone else better, as he does this job reliably. The biggest issue with Prigs is his reluctance to shoot the ball.
On the defense end is where Pablo excels. He might not be the longest or quickest defender, but he is a pest and a very heady defender. His ability to defend in the backcourt gives opposing guards fits when it comes to getting into their offensive sets and running their offense smoothly. When paired up with proven defender Iman Shumpert, the backcourt duo is a major threat on the defensive end of the court.
There was some speculation that Pablo’s wife Raquel wanted him to leave and return to play in Spain. This has since been put to rest when Pablo denied the story and said his preference would be to return to the NBA. Nicknamed “Priggie Smalls”, Pablo seems like a quality guy both on and off the court. Prigioni personifies class, and is definitely the kind of guy the Knicks locker room needs around.
Getting Pablo re-signed (depending on his demands) should be at the top of the Knicks agenda as we enter the offseason. While his talents aren’t going to blow you away, he is a valuable piece of the puzzle for the Knicks going forward, a component that has grown even more significant with the retirement of Jason Kidd.
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