TOK Roundtable – New York Knicks Role Player Edition

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Every Wednesday at Turn On The Knicks our staff will debate an issue of the week surrounding the team here in Roundtable Format. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter, along with follow the site right here. Let us know if you agree/disagree.

Who is more important to bring back next year, Pablo Prigioni or Chris Copeland?

Joe Caporoso - After an initial urge to pick Chris Copeland due to his age and scoring ability compared to Pablo Prigioni’s, I had second thoughts because of how the Knicks roster is constructed. They are overloaded with “specialists” and Copeland is a scorer…and not much else. The Knicks can score points with Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith, Ray Felton and whatever they get from Amare Stoudemire however it is other “things” they need more of. Prigioni does a little of everything and brings needed depth to the backcourt. He can handle the ball, facilitate the offense, play decent on-ball defense and hit open threes. He is a heady, savvy player on a team that desperately needs those skills, particularly with Jason Kidd now retired.

Kevin Smith -  Like TOK’s Chris Celletti pointed out in his player profile yesterday, both of these guys were older-than-usual, out-of-nowhere rookies who turned out to be a much bigger part to the team’s success than anyone expected. Unfortunately for Prigioni, age has to factor in almost everything the Knicks do in the next couple of off-seasons. Sure, the 36-year old Argentinian is probably the better keep for next year, but it’s time for New York to look at their future a bit. We all love Prigs, but at this point he’s only a short term, stopgap solution. Copeland, despite his own age discrepancies, would be worth keeping for his ceiling alone, and should be a legitimate threat as a stretch four, if nothing else.

Chris Connolly - In retrospect for the Knicks, both players bring intangibles to the roster that are needed. Prigioni adds veteran leadership, and the ability to run the offense. He has shown the ability to knock down the open 3 when it is presented to him. Copeland’s ability to stretch the defense is a major asset to the Knicks offense. His shot making spreads the floor for Melo and allows him to operate more effectively.

While both players are key to the Knicks success, given the choice Pablo Prigioni would be a bigger priority. The Knicks are in win now mode, and after the retirement of Jason Kidd, Prigs becomes more important to retain. When Mike Woodson inserted Prigioni into the starting lineup, the fluidity of the offense increased significantly. Cope’s offensive game was a big help in spurts, but as a Knicks fan you have to hope Steve Novak lives up to his contract and has a bounce back season. Also Cope will be on opposing teams radar going into next season. As they start to game plan for him, who knows if he will make the adjustments needed to be as effective as he was this year. With Prigioni you know what you are going to get: leadership, true point guard play, a pest on defense, and a gamer.

Tim Murray –  Pablo Prigioni should be more of a priority to bring back than Chris Copeland. When Prigioni was brought into the starting lineup the Knicks played their best basketball of the season. As a smart and experienced facilitator who can work the pick-n-roll and knock down a three-pointer he brings more value to the team than Copeland can. Despite Copeland’s ability to also make shots from behind the arc and his strong finish to the season with back-to-back thirty point performances, his general play is far more inconsistent and unreliable than Prigioni’s. The only aspect of their game that favors Copeland is age but Copeland is still already 29 so despite both being rookies (Prigioni was at 35) both of their ceilings are fairly set. 

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