Knicks fans were left devastated and frustrated this summer when the team let the most exciting player to come to the Big Apple in over a decade walk away for nothing.
The hype and excitement surrounding Jeremy Lin and his Knickerbocker tenure was unlike any other the NBA has seen in quite a while.
Becoming a national phenomenon due to his rise from obscurity, Lin was engulfed and overwhelmed (for better or worse) by what became “Linsanity.”
The fame and (subsequent) fortune Lin has received to date has not only been because of his contributions on the court, but also his popularity, personality, marketability, and unique backstory.
But what did Lin do for the Knicks on the hardwood? He responsibly made the right plays, finding teammates like Steve Novak and Landry Fields, elevating their level of play throughout the season. With the fans feeding off his every move, players undoubtedly enjoyed playing amongst all of the electricity surrounding the young point guard.
What was perhaps more impressive about Lin was that he always knew his role. He recognized when to penetrate to the basket, knowing full well his team needed a scorer to emerge in the clutch and carry them to a victory. Other times, he ran the floor with the vision necessary to dish and swish, helping his teammates pour in the points.
What should be most important to the Knicks is what a player can offer on the court to help the team win. If that’s the case, the team may have a smaller case of “Linsanity” upon them as Pablo Prigioni steps in to help pace their efforts.
Christmas has come early this year, and “Prigsanity” may have already begun. Similarly to the way Lin got his chance, Prigioni too has received minutes due to the absence of point guard Jason Kidd.
Rewarding his team for the given opportunity, Prigioni has thrived with extended minutes. In the Knicks’ last two commanding wins, the Argentine rookie has averaged 9.5 points and 6 assists off the bench.
But it’s not all about the stats. With Raymond Felton looking to assert himself more as a scorer, it’s been Prigioni who has been the true floor general visionary on the court. He may not be able to run and gun towards the basket on his own, but the 35 year old knows exactly where his teammates are without having to take a second look.
A rookie in the NBA, but a veteran basketball presence in reality, Prigioni has terrific instincts. Whereas efficient scorers sometimes like to catch and shoot, the guard likes to catch and pass, furthering the team’s ball movement efficiently. What’s more, he chases down his defender (and not to mention, loose balls) to come up with a steal. Needless to say, Prigioni loves sparking fast breaks and helping his teammates finish on offense after coming up with a key stop on defense.
Prigioni may not be Jeremy Lin. He won’t be getting voted into any All-Star games, and he probably won’t be a late addition to any festivities either. But what he provides the Knicks with can still have the same effect. After struggling a bit to start the season, the boost in Novak’s game with the Argentine on the court has been evident. With a savvy playmaker now making moves and running the show, the pressure is also off sixth man J.R. Smith to handle the ball.
“Linsanity” was big, bold, and explosive. Pablo Prigioni certainly doesn’t represent those types of things. Instead, “Prigsanity” has been delivered to The World’s Most Famous Arena in a small little package that still packs quite the punch of energy.
If the Knicks want to continue receiving such an injection of life on a nightly basis, it’ll be important to keep Prigioni in the lineup for the long haul.