Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Welcome Back, Pablo

Pablo Prigioni was officially re-signed by the Knicks this morning to a new three year deal worth right around six million dollars.

His contract used up nearly half of the mini mid-level exception that the Knicks had allotted to them, basically spelling the end of the Chris Copeland era in New York.

Although in my opinion the Knicks will miss Copeland a lot, this move was the right one for the team moving forward.

With Jason Kidd’s retirement, the point guard depth was paper thin. That news, coupled with the possibility that Prigioni was not going to be re-signed, made the situation even more precarious.

The group of free agent point guards currently on the market is not exactly awe inspiring. And when you consider the kind of players who would prospectively take only half of the mini mid-level, the crop gets even worse.

You were not going to see a return of Nate Robinson, or bring in Will Bynum, for the money that Prigioni just signed for. What we did get, though, was a player whom the Knicks and their fans should be thrilled to have back.

Indeed, considering what Prigioni brings to the table for the offense, you can easily see how his value on the court could well exceed the value of his new deal. For example, the Knicks won Games three and six in Boston during the first round of the playoffs thanks in large part to great starts that put the Celtics in an early deficit — starts in which the three point shooting of Prigioni was key.

Prigioni shot 43.3% from three during the playoffs, including 7-12 from deep — good for 58% — in the two aforementioned games against the Celtics.

In New York’s playoff wins, Prigioni shot 13-22 (59%) for 37 points with 16 assists. And while he only played an average 17 minutes during that stretch, Prigioni still put up six points and almost three assists a game off the bench.

Not to mention, of course, that when Mike Woodson finally scrapped the Jason Kidd-in-the-starting-lineup idea and put in Prigioni, the team went on a 13 game winning streak, finishing the season 16-2. When you add winning the first three games of the Boston series, the team went 19-2 overall.

The ball movement, and offense as a whole, simply flow better with Prigioni on the court. Contrastingly, the offense — at times anyway =– seemed to be stuck in neutral with Felton at the controls.

One of the points raised by Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal was the marked improvement in the three point shooting from Anthony during the playoffs when Prigioni was on the floor.

He tweeted that Anthony shot 43% from three when Prigioni was on the court with him and 26% when they were not on the floor together.

Additionally, his defense also was as pesky as anyone could have hoped for. For a 35 year old, he had a way of annoying anyone he was guarding, and became incredibly adept at stealing the inbounds pass after a made basket.

As Raymond Felton once said about Prigioni, “You’ve ever had like a gnat at a barbecue that just annoys you? Pablo is annoying on defense.”

With the Knicks more than likely going back to a traditional lineup and eschew the two point guard system they used last year — something not everyone will be happy about — Prigs will have a chance to rest more, which could be key if the Knicks hope to wield their depth for a deeper playoff run.

The Knicks absolutely need one more point guard — maybe Aaron Brooks or Toure Murry from the summer league squad? — to round out the point guard position, but the return of Pablo Prigioni needed to happen. He’s the kind of veteran player off the bench the Knicks will need to have; someone that can come in and run the offense to give Felton a breather. He keeps up the flow with ball movement and on defense he can give other guards an issue with his quick hands.

With a little more than three million dollars to spend to help improve the team this summer, the 1.5 million the Knicks used to bring back Prigioni was a great way to start.

40 comments on “Welcome Back, Pablo

  1. chrisk06811

    I think one thing is clear from the quotes in the story….Ray Felton does NOT like distractions at a bbq.

  2. chrisk06811

    I’m not upset Cope is gone. Two yrs ago, we lost extra e for similar $$, although he was younger than Cope and could play D. Last year, we signed Novak for 3 years, because we had the $$, who was basically a more proven Cope. He was ineffective in the playoffs in 2012 because he got guarded. nobody guarded Cope…he hasnt earned that respect yet. We over-paid Novak, because we could, and now we are glad his salary is gone. We needed Priggy more that we needed Cope, and we didnt think we could keep them both.

  3. sidestep

    I’ve learned that the core metaphor with which Felton makes sense of the world is the barbeque. That’s one of those ‘not making this up’ moments.

  4. Frank

    twitter noise about us signing Tyrus Thomas if he gets through waivers. I’m 100% for this as well. He’s been awful the last 2 years but he’s only 26 and has all the physical talent in the world. It was only 2 years ago that he averaged 17/10 with 2.5-3 blocks per 40 in 2 straight seasons. As a vet minimum reclamation project we could do way worse.

  5. Frank

    this would be funniest offseason if we ended up with Tyrus Thomas, Ron Artest, and JR Smith as our big signings.

  6. DS

    Frank: twitter noise about us signing Tyrus Thomas if he gets through waivers. I’m 100% for this as well. He’s been awful the last 2 years but he’s only 26 and has all the physical talent in the world. It was only 2 years ago that he averaged 17/10 with 2.5-3 blocks per 40 in 2 straight seasons. As a vet minimum reclamation project we could do way worse.

    If we get Noah too, the Eddy Curry trade would be undone.

  7. Frank

    DS: If we get Noah too, the Eddy Curry trade would be undone.

    And getting Ron Ron back would quiet the ghosts of Ed Tapscott and Frederic Weis. Takin’ care of all the old business.

  8. DS

    Frank: And getting Ron Ron back would quiet the ghosts of Ed Tapscott and Frederic Weis. Takin’ care of all the old business.

    Good call! Too bad there’s nothing to Rondo rumors.

  9. yellowboy90

    Frank:
    this would be funniest offseason if we ended up with Tyrus Thomas, Ron Artest, and JR Smith as our big signings.

    wow all formers bulls to boot. didn’t jr have a cup of coffee in chi?

  10. JK47

    Tyrus Thomas has been unbelievably bad the last two seasons, but he has had some decent NBA seasons. When he’s at his best he’s a pretty decent rebounder and shotblocker, so I wouldn’t be opposed to taking a look at him.

    Draft busts: the new market inefficiency.

  11. massive

    Bynum takes a 2 year deal with the Cavs. If he’s healthy, 2015 will be a glorious off-season for New York.

  12. JK47

    The 20-minutes-for-Amar’e thing was reiterated today, which means we’re gonna be seeing an awful lot of Andrea Bargnani.

  13. bockadoo

    I honestly don’t know…how bad did Bynum screw the sixers? I wonder who would win a maturity contest between DHoward and Bynum?

  14. JK47

    Gotta get Artest. If Bargnani fails or gets hurt, Felton-Shump-Artest-Melo-Chandler is still a viable lineup.

  15. Frank

    Anyone have any idea how much cap room the Cavs will have after this? Feels like they are trying to make the jump this year and could be a team that takes a shot at Artest. Not sure if they would want him around all those young guys but Bynum isn’t exactly known as a great influence either.

  16. nicos

    I’d love to get Tyrus Thomas on our summer league team- a front court of him, Leslie, and Jeremy Tyler would produce all of espn’s top ten highlights and lose by 30. TT makes Javelle McGee look like a savvy vet.

  17. ruruland

    I think signing Artest would basically make Bargnani/Amar’e a platoon luxury.

    No question Artest would start. His defensive Synergy numbers are still very good, especially on an atrocious team defense. They were very good last year and he’s two seasons removed from defensive dominance, with numbers as good if not better than any of the top stoppers in the league. He’s not as quick, but he’s still got those meathooks, and as Mark Warkentein used to say when the Nuggets pursued Artest for a couple of years, he’s the Hulk, in physique, power and disposition. He has Lebron-like adrenaline surges where he shuts a guy down full-court, gets a steal and then runs back for a dunk. He’s another natural fit in a switch scheme.

    He’s one of the naturally strongest players in league history from what people in the NBA say.

    He and Shump? I’d argue that’s the best wing defensive duo in the league. And if Chandler returns to form, one could argue that the Knicks defense, say if Martin also returns which I think is likely at this point, is more talented/better set-up to be top 5 than the one Woodson turned around two seasons ago, if not significantly so.

    Adding Artest and having Shumpert, Prigs and Martin playing perhaps twice as many minutes as last season………

    Jowles predictably made the argument he and his ilk always make when +/- are injured/not-injured stats are brought up, suggesting that Artest led the Lakers in +/- last season because his back-ups were weak.

    Well, Artest has one of the best active career +/- number in the NBA, and nine of the last 10 years his teams have been a net rating of 6 or higher when he’s on the floor.

    He has a higher career net +/- than Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant, both of whom, naturally, have great career +/- numbers.

    Artest still has a huge impact on the court, and there are Lakers fans who will tell you he was more important to their last championship than Gasol and Bynum.

  18. Juany8

    Alright ruru relax lol, Artest was not more valuable to that run that gasol, and odom was also more important. Artest was a vital piece, but he was a role player on that team. I’d love to have him, but his offense isn’t going to be pretty, trust me

  19. JK47

    Is Cleveland still under the cap now that they signed Andrew Bynum? Could they still steal Artest away? I’m a total dunce when it comes to salary cap stuff.

  20. DS

    Bynum to the Cavs?? So if healthy (a big if) they have Varejao, Bynum, Tristan Thompson, and the #1 pick Bennett?! Sort of a glut of big men; although given the Knicks’ situation, it doesn’t sound like such a bad problem to have.

  21. ruruland

    Juany8:
    Alright ruru relax lol, Artest was not more valuable to that run that gasol, and odom was also more important. Artest was a vital piece, but he was a role player on that team. I’d love to have him, but his offense isn’t going to be pretty, trust me

    Sure, he was a role player, and I made that comment only to emphasize how important a lot of smart Lakers fans thought he was; I don’t believe he was more valuable than Gasol, either, but the Lakers defense was significantly better when he was on the floor that year, too.

  22. MJG1789

    Keniman Shumpwalker: So, just for the sake of absolute clarity…do you like Nate Robinson? Do you want him on the Knicks? Do you dislike the Pablo Prigioni signing? I feel like these would be good topics for you to bring up at some point.

    I LOL’d, hard. Thanks. Hard to believe there’s any negativity about the Prigs signing.

  23. Eyal

    Keniman Shumpwalker: So, just for the sake of absolute clarity…do you like Nate Robinson? Do you want him on the Knicks? Do you dislike the Pablo Prigioni signing? I feel like these would be good topics for you to bring up at some point.

    Frequent reader, although I’m almost never posing but this was so brilliant with such perfect comic timing I just had to say thank you for making me laugh for like two solid minutes.

  24. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, and even if it wasn’t, it’s $2 million. Not really anything to affect much of anything, cap-wise.

  25. Brian Cronin

    I really can’t believe Bynum got beat so bad that doesn’t even automatically get the $12 million in the first year of the deal! Only $6 million is guaranteed! How did he take this deal?

    But yes, it is good for the Knicks that he’ll become a free agent in 2015.

  26. Frank

    Brian Cronin:
    I really can’t believe Bynum got beat so bad that doesn’t even automatically get the $12 million in the first year of the deal! Only $6 million is guaranteed! How did he take this deal?

    But yes, it is good for the Knicks that he’ll become a free agent in 2015.

    I read that the Mavs’ training staff didn’t even think he’d definitely be able to contribute at any time this coming season. So his knee must be worse than most think. It doesn’t sound like it should have been too serious (bone bruise, some cartilage issue) but something must be very wrong for him to miss an entire season and STILL not be able to participate in any on-court stuff.

  27. ess-dog

    Brian Cronin:
    I really can’t believe Bynum got beat so bad that doesn’t even automatically get the $12 million in the first year of the deal! Only $6 million is guaranteed! How did he take this deal?

    But yes, it is good for the Knicks that he’ll become a free agent in 2015.

    And Corey Brewer gets a deal for 15 mil over 3 years. It’s a crazy world.

  28. Keniman Shumpwalker

    Eyal: Frequent reader, although I’m almost never posing but this was so brilliant with such perfect comic timing I just had to say thank you for making me laugh for like two solid minutes.

    Glad I could elicit a few chuckles. I’m hoping Vinny L. has enough self-deprecating humor to change his handle to Broken Record.

  29. TMal

    I just dont know where Tyrus’ head is at, does he want to play, what motivates him? He definitely has the tools and is young, he could do what the Knicks need REBOUNDING and BLOCKING SHOTS, at this time I’d take KMart over him though….Thoughts

  30. TMal

    ess-dog: And Corey Brewer gets a deal for 15 mil over 3 years. It’s a crazy world.

    No one can tell if someone is faking an injury or not, in Bynum’s case he has to audition for more money, its unfortunate that both his knees woes began when his OWN teammates ran into him, first time Odom and second time Kobe. Philly was ready to contend but instead people lost jobs and players were traded since Bynum was a no-show. IMHO a healthy and motivated Bynum is better than DHoward

  31. Brian Cronin

    I read that the Mavs’ training staff didn’t even think he’d definitely be able to contribute at any time this coming season. So his knee must be worse than most think. It doesn’t sound like it should have been too serious (bone bruise, some cartilage issue) but something must be very wrong for him to miss an entire season and STILL not be able to participate in any on-court stuff.

    I can imagine that something is seriously wrong with him, but even if that were the case, why lock himself into that second year just for the $6 million? If I were him, I’d just as soon took a mini-MLE offer from, say, I dunno, OKC and if I’m healthy, then I’m playing for a great team where I’ll get a lot of attention and then a MAX contract next year and if I’m not healthy, I start the whole process over again next season and the same teams will be interested next year as they are this year. Unless he thinks his career is just flat-out over and he’s trying to get as much guaranteed money as possible. That could actually be it, but yeah, as you note, it seems weird that this injury would be career-threatening.

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