Monday, February 25, 2013
Opening Tip: Play Prigioni more?
By Jared Zwerling
Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: Should Mike Woodson reduce Jason Kidd's minutes looking ahead to allow more playing time for Pablo Prigioni?
After the Knicks' win over the 76ers on Sunday night, Woodson said, "Pablo did a great job directing our offense."
Prigioni dished out five assists in just 13 minutes.
The backup point guard finished with four points, five assists and no turnovers in only 13 minutes. On the other hand, Kidd had three points (0-for-6 from downtown) and two assists in twice as many minutes (26).
Woodson admitted earlier Sunday that Kidd's additional minutes since the end of December, after Raymond Felton went down with an injury, has "burned him some." It's obviously showed in Kidd's lack of facilitating and 3-point shooting (32.7 percent in January and just 20 percent this month).
So perhaps now is the time to reduce Kidd's playing time to enable Prigioni to see more minutes temporarily or long term? Not only does Prigioni have a better burst of speed than Kidd off pick-and-rolls, but he's also a great passer and better on defense. Out of all the top Knicks' two-man defensive lineups, Prigioni is most of them.
The 35-year-old even picks up his man full court, applying that additional pressure that most point guards don't do in the NBA. They lay back to conserve energy to execute all of the half-court playmaking they do.
But Prigioni doesn't need to play 35 to 40 minutes per game. Woodson can increase him to 20 or so in the meantime, while Kidd patches up. Down the road, Woodson can balance out Kidd's and Prigioni's minutes, or they can play side-by-side at times. In fact, Prigioni has been much more effective than Kidd from long range recently. In January, the Argentine shot 46.4 percent from that distance, and is 55.6 percent so far this month.
It's important to note that there is still potentially 3½ months left in the season. That's, of course, if the Knicks reach the Finals. Now is the time for more balanced minutes and even a deeper rotation. The shortening of it can happen in the playoffs.
Do you think Woodson should reduce Kidd's minutes to increase Prigioni's? Leave us your comments below.