Pablo Prigioni Feels He’s Joining Perfect Team
PLAYA VISTA, Calif. – The Clippers officially signed point guard Pablo Prigioni today.
Prigioni split last season between New York and Houston, playing 43 regular season games for the Knicks and 24 for the Rockets, averaging 4.1 points, 2.6 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game. He knew the Clippers had interest this offseason, and he knew there was no other place he’d rather be.
“I didn’t even consider to choose another team or to go back to Europe,” Prigioni said. “’I said, I want to go there (to Los Angeles).’ This is a perfect team.”
Clippers fans may remember Prigioni from the playoffs last season. He averaged more minutes the first two rounds of the postseason than he did during the season, scoring 11 points off the bench in Game 1 against the Clippers and scoring four points with four assists and three steals in 20 minutes in Game 7 of that series while playing for the Rockets.
Despite the change in scenery, Prigioni should have some familiarity in Los Angeles. Prigioni played for Clippers assistant coach Mike Woodson and with new addition Cole Aldrich when he was in New York. He also played with new addition Josh Smith when the two were together in Houston last season. Prigioni said there’s no way he could’ve known he’d be with Smith on the Clippers just a year later.
“This is a team that has a group of guys that are playing together the last four or five years,” Prigioni said. “Now, same coach, add a couple of new guys. This is a perfect team to go to and try to give my best and help with whatever they need to do.”
The 38-year-old guard has played in the NBA since 2012, spending his first two and a half seasons with the Knicks. For his career, he holds averages of 3.8 points, three assists, 1.9 rebounds and one steal in 17.7 minutes per game.
While his 34.3 percent shooting from 3-point range was down last year, Prigioni is a career 39.8 percent shooter from 3-point range and a career 43.7 percent shooter from the field. During the 2013-14 season, Prigioni shot 46.1 percent overall and 46.4 percent from long range.
Most of Prigioni’s playing career was spent in Argentina, where he played for five seasons, and overseas in Spain, where he played from 1999-2012. He debuted for the Knicks in November 2012 and was the oldest rookie in the league that year at 35 years old. Prigioni has also been a standout for Argentina’s national team, which captured a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
The Rockets scored 106.3 points per 100 possessions with Prigioni on the court last season, good for the third most of any player on the team. The only other Rockets with a better offensive rating were Smith (106.4) and James Harden (107.7).
After getting 14.4 minutes per game in March in his first full month with the Rockets, Prigioni’s minutes per game increased to 22.1 in April. The guard took advantage, averaging 4.9 points, three assists, 2.3 rebounds and two steals per game. More importantly, the Rockets thrived offensively with Prigioni on the court in April, averaging 111.8 points per 100 possessions.
That late-season success helped the Rockets feel comfortable playing Prigioni at least 15 minutes in every game the first two rounds of the playoffs.
In Chris Paul, Austin Rivers and Prigioni, head coach Doc Rivers now has three options at point guard, and that’s becoming a theme at nearly every position as the Clippers continue to revamp their roster and add to their depth at each spot.