Countdown to NBA Trade Deadline February 18: Should Houston Rockets trade for Pablo Prigioni?
When Tamberlyn (our boss lady) sent out the email asking us to pick and cover a player that we felt the Rockets should trade for, my mind almost immediately traveled to a retirement home in Argentina. Tapping into my inner Professor X and getting a hold of “Cerebro“, I was able to come across a man that the city of Houston should be well familiar with. A man who resembles “Woody” from Toy Story, a man who goes by the name of Pablo Prigioni.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – Prigioni is currently with the Clippers, not chilling mountain side in Argentina reminiscing on his days with the Knicks where he would night in and night out light up Madison Square Garden to the tune of 3.9 Points Per Game in three seasons (per Basketball-Reference.com). Instead, Pablo’s rotting away on the Clippers bench calling next on slap-boxing matches with Lance Stephenson.
All jokes aside, your reaction upon coming across this headline while scrolling through your timeline was probably the same as Tamberlyn’s.
"“You’re kidding me right? Of all players rumored to be within the trade-mill you think a 38 year old point guard who doesn’t really do anything spectacular would benefit Houston the most?”"
Yes, yes I do.
A Moment of Reflection
We’ve all had that one friend who after a night of drinking got completely hammered and unconsciously strayed away from the group but some how found his way home. That’s how last year’s post season run for the Rockets felt. I’m not quite sure how Houston made it to the Western Conference Finals, but it was damn sure amazing.
Seriously, think about it. In an era where talent at the point guard position is at an all time high, the Rockets were able to reach the Western Conference Finals with Jason Terry and Pablo Prigioni as the only point guard options.. Let me re-iterate that – JASON TERRY and PABLO PRIGIONI. Both 38, one’s a part time actor who goes by the stage name of Romany Malco, the other is a fictional cowboy character on the weekends.
Why make any changes to a team who was potentially two healthy players away from the finals? Of course, the idea of acquiring Ty Lawson was for a sure home run on the surface but look how that’s turned out. Bringing in Marcus Thornton made sense – a streaky offensive player who can stretch the floor and go on hot spurts, but the guy for whatever reason isn’t playing as much as he should.
If we’re looking at the changes made in the off season through an X’s and O’s perspective then I applaud you once again Daryl Morey but if we’re examining last season’s team as opposed to this year’s team, there’s two crucial pillars of success that are missing from the foundation.
The Houston team that rallied back from a 3-1 playoff deficit to the Los Angeles Clippers was one that played with every ounce of grit, effort and determination that is embedded within every heart of a true competitor. Sadly, that display of passion is only showcased once every two weeks this season. The reason’s are apparent – the lack of leadership, trust, and commitment to the defensive end of the floor are the poisons that linger through the limbs of this Houston ball club.
“Sadly, that display of passion is only showcased once every two weeks this season. The reason’s are apparent – the lack of leadership, trust, and commitment to the defensive end of the floor are the poisons that linger through the limbs of this Houston ball club.”
Beyond The Numbers
If you’ve watched a handful of Rocket games last season then I expect that you’re now grasping a better sense as to why I feel Pablo Prigioni is completely being overlooked as a beneficial acquisition.
The Rockets as an organization has in a way lead and drown in the tidal wave of analytics thus explaining the acquisition of Thornton and Lawson. As a supporter of such numbers I do believe that it is a great approach towards building a team, but the one sports adage that the analytics fail to account for is the player who “does the little things that don’t show up on the box score”. Which in a nut shell defines the career of Pablo Prigioni. These players I believe are vital components to a championship team.
Diving for every loose ball, rotating over for a charge, making the extra effort to deflect a pass, passing up an open shot only to swing for a better one – these are all plays that are not seen on a nightly basis when watching the Houston Rockets, but are often exhibited by the 38 year old veteran in Prigioni.
Acquiring Pablo would be bringing on a well seasoned veteran who is familiar with the grind it takes to winning and a composed player who has a knack for coming up with one or two steals in the key moments of a game.
You’re Going To Need A Drink
Alright, the likely-hood of this trade happening is abundantly slimmer than Lebron’s hairline growing back, but hey – a man can dream right?
So let’s say we’re living in a world where Phil Jackson, Daryl Morey,Doc Rivers and Adam Sterling were actually the stars of the hit movie “The Hangover” – Doc being Ed Helms, Morey being Zach Galifianakis, Phil being Bradley Cooper and Commissioner Silver being Justin Bartha . Two days before Adam’s wedding ,the four drive to Las Vegas for a party where Morey roofies them and makes this trade happen. The next morning Doc and Phil are infuriated about the trade and look for Adam to veto this trade (David Stern style) but is nowhere to be found.
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The New York crowd would then have the luxury of enjoying the Stephenson Circus on a nightly basis, the Clippers I feel would actually improve from this deal by solidifying their bench and the Rockets would be getting rid of the Lawson failed project while acquiring a player in Jamal Crawford who is more than capable of creating his own shot.
But most importantly, the Rockets would be re-uniting a team that showcased the resiliency, chemistry and balls to the walls type effort it takes to win.
With the trade deadline around the corner make sure you visit Space City Scoop daily for our trade series. Each day SCS will feature an article on who the Rockets should trade for or what it would take to part ways with the players currently on the roster. Finally we’ll assess the Rockets and each team in the Association in terms of what their needs are, if they should be buyers or sellers and also speculate on who would be the ideal trade target.