Friday, October 12, 2012
Opening Tip: Utilizing Kidd, Prigioni
By Jared Zwerling
Every weekday, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: Should Jason Kidd get more minutes at the two to allow Pablo Prigioni to play more backup point?
There was a key takeaway from the Knicks' preseason victory in Washington that can be extended throughout the early part of the season, until Iman Shumpert returns and puts more of a stamp on the shooting guard depth chart.
Currently, with Ronnie Brewer missing and James White hobbled, it's opened up the position. And what we witnessed at the Verizon Center is that Kidd has the ability to play off the ball, offensively and defensively. He has the build (6-4, 210), smarts, quick hands and long-range shooting ability. After all, he's third all-time in 3-point makes (1,874), behind Ray Allen and Reggie Miller.
Also evident from Thursday night is that Prigioni can be a solid backup point guard. He finished with 14 points, four assists and two steals in only 21 minutes. There was some offseason talk about how he would handle the faster pace of the NBA, as he has been used to more physical, halfcourt-style games after playing many years internationally. But he had no problem keeping up with the tempo on both ends of the floor, and he executed the pick-and-roll fluidly and knocked down four 3s.
Offensively, he should be able to run the team well, but he'll have to prove over time he can consistently guard the fastest and quickest position in basketball. Kidd and Prigioni staying healthy, being that they're in their late 30s, is obviously an important factor.
Positives aside, what's missing the most right now in the second unit is another slasher/facilitator from the wing to complement J.R. Smith. Consistent and balanced penetration from different angles into the paint (not just below the arc in pick-and-rolls) will enable the Knicks to have better opportunities to move the ball and get open shots.
The Knicks won't be 18-for-33 (54.5 percent) from downtown every night, so they'll need more of an attack off the bench. Shooting more 3s than free throws (28) is not always a good thing. But let's focus more on the good for now with one win under their belt.
Do you think Kidd should play more shooting guard, enabling Prigioni to play more backup point? Leave us your comments below.