Pablo Prigioni is a rookie in the NBA but at 35 years of age and plenty of big games under his belt with clubs in Spain and with Argentina’s national side, rest assured that he is among the most experienced players in the league.
The Knicks played him for more than 21 minutes on Thursday night in their 108-101 exhibition game win over the Washington Wizards and observers would have noted that Prigioni looked like a perfect fit for his new team.
He responded with 14 points, four assists and two steals.
Knicks duo Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony got a chance to see Prigioni in action at the London Games, where they suited up for the United States.
Chandler, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA, was convinced after London that the Knicks had done some very good business in luring Prigioni to the Big Apple.
That feeling is only stronger after the amount of time that Chandler has spent with Prigioni in the pre-season.
“He’s got a different poise about him,” Chandler said.
“A lot of rookies come in and gain confidence.
“He knows where he is and what his value is.
“He doesn’t play like a rookie.
“He plays with a different poise and confidence.”
It remains to be seen how much coach Mike Woodson uses Prigioni, especially witj Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton in the squad.
Prigioni hasn’t travelled to North America making demands on playing time.
He’s ready to do what it takes to make New York a winner.
Prigioni already understands what he has to do.
“I’m here to help the team when it needs me,’’ Prigioni said.
“This is the time to get in shape. I want to be consistent and play smart.
“In this league, there are great shooters, great athletes.
“My place is to be a smart player and make my teammates happy. I will help the team where it needs me.”
Come next summer, when Argentina travel to Caracas, Venezuela, to play at the FIBA Americas Championship and attempt to qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup, Prigioni is certain to have a prominent role in the national squad yet again.