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2013-14 Season in Review: Pablo Prigioni

by Charlie Widdoes

Statistically Speaking: Played in 66 games (27 starts), averaging 19.4 minutes per game. Shot 46.4 percent from 3 and had an assist rate (percentage of field goals assists while on the floor) of 25.6.

Year in Review: The Knicks were practically unbeatable with Pablo Prigioni on the floor in 2012-13, his first season in New York. As a rookie, his relentless ball pressure, mastery of the pick-and-roll and unselfishness made him an indispensible part of the 54-win equation. By the end of that year, he had forced his way into the starting lineup and, not coincidentally, the Knicks went 16-2 to close out the regular season.

In many ways, he followed up that very successful rookie season with an even better sophomore campaign at the age of 36. Once again, the Knicks were demonstrably better with him on the floor – their net rating (points per 100 possessions) was 4.0 points worse when he went to the bench. Despite modest per-game numbers, his impact was evident in its efficiency and positive impact on the team.

His ability to run the point or play off the ball made him a vital piece of a rotation in constant flux, but he elevated his game to another level by becoming a deadly 3-point threat; a tentative shooter at times during in his first season, he let if fly more often this season and connected on 46.4 percent of his attempts, the second-best mark in the NBA.

He also continued to cement his reputation as one of the peskiest defenders in the league. Known for applying pressure full-court, he was once again good for a handful of steals from sheer effort and guile -- and his teammates give him much respect for it; at a recent New York Liberty game, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert watched someone steal an inbounds pass and immediately turned to each other, smiled, and said "Pablo."

Season Highlight: Prigioni turned in his most impressive performance in a December 14 win against Atlanta: 11 points (3-of-6 from 3), six assists and four steals. In true Pablo fashion, he finished the night with a +17 rating and helped limit speedy Hawks point guard Jeff Teague to just four points.

Looking Ahead: Although he just turned 37 years old, Prigioni showed no signs of slowing down in his second NBA season. He handled a heavier workload (up from 16.2 minutes per game) while upping his long-range attempts and efficiency.

Going forward, his versatility and team-first approach should continue to be a huge asset for New York. Already a strong veteran presence, he can continue to mentor young players like Toure’ Murry in the fine arts of making the extra pass and harassing ballhandlers.