The Knicks have agreed to a one-year contract with veteran Argentinian point guard Pablo Prigioni. Prigioni will make the league minimum of
$1.3 million $473,00this season. The European League veteran turned down more lucrative offers from European clubs to try his hand at the NBA level.
Point guard has been a constant cause of concern for the Knicks the past few seasons. Jeremy Lin burst on the scene with some magical play during the middle of the lockout shortened season before succumbing to a knee injury in early April. After Lin went down the Knicks were forced to depend on on a rotating cast of characters at the starting point spot. Baron Davis, Mike Bibby and rookie combo guard Iman Shumpert all had a hand in guiding the offense before the Knicks lost both Davis and Shumpert in their first round loss to the Miami Heat.
Prigioni is considered to be a fantastic playmaker and solid perimeter defender. He will provide solid depth and injury insurance for Jeremy Lin and newly acquired backup Jason Kidd.
During the 2008 Olympics, Prigioni was the point guard for the Argentina National Team that won Bronze in Beijing. Manu Ginobli, Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino and Andres Nocioni were teammates of Prigioni during those games and all have gone on to have various forms of success in the NBA. He is now training in Venezuela with his teammates in preparation for the 2012 London games.
Mike Woodson tends to play his veterans a decent amount, so I would not be surprised to see Prigioni get a lot more playing time than is expected of him. One of the strengths of the “Maestros” game is pick and roll play, which should come in handy when he shares the court with Amar’e. I’d also expect to see a fair amount of Prigioni and Kidd in the backcourt together. Both players stand at 6’4 and their height could cause some match-up problems for smaller guards. I also think Kidd will spend more time off the ball this season than NBA fans have been accustomed to seeing.
I’m not sure why this signing intrigues me so much, but I’ve been anticipating this move with excitement since the Knicks were said to have shown interest. I like that Grunwald continues to scour the European market for cheap veteran alternatives to fill out the roster. Maybe one or two of these guys will end up being a diamond in the rough.
More than anything else, I’m just happy to finally have some depth at the point.