New York Knicks: Could Pablo Prigioni Actually Start at Point Guard?

Ciaran GowanContributor IIIAugust 1, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 29:  Pablo Prigioni #8 of Argentina celebrates after a play against Lithuania during their Men's Basketball Game on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Basketball Arena on July 29, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With free agency opening up, the month of July was very eventful for the New York Knicks, with nine new players joining the roster for the 2012-13 season.

The point guard position in particular has had a complete overhaul, with Jeremy Lin, Baron Davis, Mike Bibby and Toney Douglas all leaving in favor of Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni.

Now that the pieces are in place at the one spot, the question is now about who will start for the Knicks, and who will be the backup.

At first glance, the obvious move for the Knicks would be to start Felton with Kidd as his backup. 

Felton is the youngest of the three point guards by some distance, and as such is the most capable of playing big minutes for a full 82-game season. His penetration and ability to score are superior to the other two facilitators due to their age.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that Felton should be the out and out starter.

Kidd may be too old to start anymore in the NBA—he's even said so himself—but Argentinian point guard Pablo Prigioni is showing us in the Olympics that he absolutely has the capability to start even at the age of 35.

Felton may have the better overall game of the two, but Prigioni may actually be a better fit for what the Knicks need out of the position.

All three point guards are considered to be "pass first," but Prigioni appears to be even more of a natural facilitator than the others, and that's saying something.

In his first two games of the men's competition in London 2012, Prigioni has recorded six and eight assists respectively, and bearing in mind that it's a lot harder to record assists under FIBA rules than NBA rules, that's very impressive.

Prigioni's recent comments to the New York Post have made headlines due to the comparison he made between himself and Jeremy Lin, but rather than assuming he was taking a shot at the former Knick, we shouldn't ignore the point that he was actually trying to make:

"I like the team to play good, pass the ball, find open shots. I like to play smart—if someone’s hot, pass the ball to him."

It may be simple, but Prigioni's words are essentially a job description for a point guard in this offense, making him a perfect fit for the position.

He doesn't do it very often, but Prigioni can actually shoot pretty well, too, with surprisingly good form for someone who scores so few points.

If Prigioni continues to turn heads in the remainder of the Olympics and in training camp, Mike Woodson could have a very tough decision to make at the one spot, but it's hardly a bad situation to have too many good players.

In an offseason where the Knicks used the mid-level exception on one point guard and traded for another, it may actually be the player they gave the rookie's minimum who emerges as the best candidate to start.