FanPost

An Argentine's Assessment of Pablo Prigioni


Hello from Argentina, Knicks fans! My name is Edg5 (well, not really) and I've caught !Pablocura!

I'm a basketball fan and a contributing writer on Pounding the Rock, the Spurs' SBNation blog, but don't let that fool you: I have no idea what I'm talking about. I have been watching Prigioni play for a long time, though, so I thought I could contribute a little to the excellent coverage your fearless leader Seth is doing on Pablo.

First of all, let me assure you that I'll try to stay as objective as possible and you won't have me here complaining if Pablo doesn't get playing time. It's not like he's Spanoulis or anything ;)

With that out of the way, let's start.

Seth wrote this on his scouting report:

So, all told, Prigioni's game against the U.S. fell right in line with his reputation. He's neither nimble nor explosive enough (and perhaps never was) to burn point guards off the dribble or prevent them from doing the same on the other end. He uses picks and head fakes brilliantly, though, and needs just a couple steps of penetration to find creative, oblique angles and feed pretty much anyone on the floor. He dishes with restraint and precision, using any available window but swallowing the pass if the window's not there. He'll take and hit a three if you leave him open, but passes up even the openest of driving lanes. I just pretty much described present-day Jason Kidd, so we'll see how those two split minutes and what lineups suit each of them best as the season goes on.

That's as accurate a description of Pablo's game as you are going to find but I'll add a few other things, because I like overkill.

On offense, Seth nailed it: he only shoots when he's open and he rarely attacks the basket. When he does, it's usually on the secondary break, when the big man is distracted and the lane is wide open. Even then, he'll look for the foul more often than the basket, usually getting the call.

If he's left alone, he can hit jumpers. He's not the most consistent guy around but he can make an open 3. Playing off the ball, he has no problem setting screens and he always tries to make himself available to the ball handler.

His mastery of the pick and roll is undeniable. He uses screens expertly to get just enough space to make the pass he wants and, while he won't force anything, he can thread the needle to the rolling big. He's at his best on a half court offense but he can lead a fast break as long as he doesn't have to finish the play himself.

On defense, he stays in front of his man or directs him to a helping big. He plays solid team defense as well, rarely being out of position or rotating late. He doesn't gamble on passing lanes but he will go for the steal from time to time. I don't know if Woodson keeps switching everything like he did in Atlanta, but if he does, Prigioni is solid on switches, too. He has no problem throwing his body around against bigger players and often gives up position for a second, only to attack the entry pass and get a steal. He'll bump cutters and rolling bigs. At this level, he will only be an average defender but not for lack of trying.

Basically, he's a pretty complete player. He won't excel at anything but as a 3rd PG, you could do a lot worse.

Off the court, he's a pretty good guy. He's family-oriented, a good professional who always takes good care of himself. He has no problem with the press but doesn't seek the spotlight. He's a good locker room guy but he's more of a leader by example, which is good because his English, not unlike mine, is pretty poor.

In every interview after the alleged signing he has said that he knows he'll probably spend a lot of time on the bench but it doesn't matter to him; playing in the NBA was a dream and he knew this was his last chance (no kidding, 35-year-old rookie). With the national team he struggled when he was a back-up, but he seems to have matured since then and backing up Pepe Sanchez is not the same as backing up Lin Felton (too soon?) and Kidd.

Again, that's a good thing because I think that if Pablo sees extended time, something went terribly wrong for the Knicks. He's not the kind of guy that will leapfrog Kidd and Felton on the depth chart by surprising everyone with stellar play. If Pablo starts or is the first guard off the bench it's because Kidd and Felton are disappointing. It's not that he can't play at this level; it's just that his best quality is being a stabilizing force and if the Knicks need that it's because Felton is shooting too much and Kidd is Mike Bibbying up the place.

What he will do is work his ass off for the team and in practice. He was far from a household name on FIBA ball coming out of Argentina and his upside was considered limited, unlike other Argentine players. In fact, he played in the Spanish LEB (second in importance) and worked his way up to Real Madrid and the starting gig on one of the best national teams out there.

So there you have it, New Yorkers. That's an Argentine's assessment of Pablo Prigioni. Nothing illuminating, I know, but it never hurts knowing how fans of a team a guy is playing for feel about him. Hopefully, he'll carve out a spot for himself in the rotation and if he does, you'll have one more basketball fan watching your beloved Knicks.

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