WHO WILL BE AT THE POINT AT CRUNCH TIME?
While looking at the Knicks success last season we must begin with the impact Pablo Prigioni brought to the Knicks starting unit.
Now Pablo isn’t someone who’s going to post flashy statistics, but he gives you 100 percent, 100 percent of the time. He is a pest on the ball and moves the offense which was stagnant last year often under Felton. He may have averaged only 3.5 points, three assists and 0.9 steals last season, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
In reality, he was a major part of the offense and his presence was essential for ball movement. The most impressive number must look at is New York’s record when he was in the lineup as a starter. They went 16-2 in those games, including a truly dominant 13-game win streak.
Often last year, the Knicks started off very slow and couldn’t get into an offensive flow. Pablo changed that late in the year and offered a dynamic Felton just didn’t provide. And at only 6 feet, and a defensive liability they should not play in the back court together.
All that will do is stunt Iman Shumpert’s growth, and if Shumpert’s doesn’t produce early he will be trade bait so he better be watching his back.
The secret could be Beno Udrih.
Udrih is a good backup point guard whose salary was a steal for the Knicks. He showed in Orlando, he is ready for a larger role. He didn’t come here to be the No. 3 point guard. Don’t kid yourself, he is a competitor.
He’s a younger, more athletic version of Prigioni who can break down a defense and make plays off the pick-and-roll. He can bring a sense of leadership that Felton must either bring or learn from on the bench.
He’s also s two-time NBA champion, having won with the Spurs in 2005 and 2007. I love his team first attitude. “I know what it means how to win,’’ Udrih told the New York Post. “Last year’s team got a taste of winning and had bad luck vs. Indiana (in the second round). Tyson (Chandler) got sick — a lot of injury problems. We have to stay healthy all year and it’s good we have a deep team. Some guys can get time off and still get a win.’’
He brings leadership and experience to the Knicks’ offense next season, the team needs a point guard who could keep the offense moving for better shots. It stalled all too often last season with too much reliance on Anthony, late in the clock.