Undisputedly, Carmelo Anthony is the undisputed New York Knicks superstar and everyone knows it, but for the 2014-15 NBA season, the franchise is relying on two much smaller names to run their soon-to-be-implemented triangle offense: Jose Calderon and Pablo Prigioni.
These two players have a lot more in common than just being white foreign basketball point guards who made it to the NBA. They offer the Knicks security and intelligence that was seldom seen on the floor last season. They are great shooters and efficient passers, and most of all, they take care of the ball.
If you take into account the fact that the Knicks are very well served in terms of athleticism, with the likes of Anthony, Tim Hardaway Jr., J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Cleanthony Early and Quincy Acy manning other positions on the floor, a high-IQ passer and shooter is everything you need as their floor general — and that’s exactly what these two veterans have to offer.
They both ended last season among the top four in assist-to-turnover ratio, only behind superstar point guard Chris Paul and Josh McRoberts, so the expectations for next season are high.
How do they fit in the triangle offense? The triangle is a team-oriented basketball system. It needs everyone on the floor to be involved, making cuts, moving the ball and moving themselves when they are away from the ball. Every player on the floor is supposed to be able to score at any given time, but finding the open man is the ultimate objective. Open shots are more reliable than contested ones, regardless of who is the shooter per se.
Well, both Calderon and Prigioni are perfect for the job. Calderon is going to be the starter, initiating every play with his great court vision. He takes care of the ball pretty well and is a prolific shooter (career averages of 47.9 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from the three). Besides, the Toronto Raptors‘ all-time assist leader is a great upgrade to the Knicks’ 2013-14 point guard, Raymond Felton.
Prigioni has a pretty similar game (45.7 percent from the field while shooting 43.1 percent from the 3-point line) and is going to be the main backup, although he does hesitate when the opportunity to score presents itself at times. Playing under Mike Woodson‘s flawed offensive system, he showed great potential in pick and roll plays and initiating ball movement, but will need to adapt quickly to the player movement demanded by the triangle in order to be a consistent piece. Considering the way he keeps himself in shape and his basketball IQ, he should be just fine.
So if everything happens as planned, the Knicks will have the chance to use this season to create the foundations on which they will build their backcourt for the future. These two basketball veterans will be of utmost importance on the floor, starting every play and making sure everyone around them is better, while providing valuable leadership in the locker room.
Calderon has a guaranteed contract until 2017, and Prigioni could be a cheap and reliable piece to fill up the roster starting next season, when one more superstar is supposed to join the franchise in their chase of the NBA Championship ring.