On Wednesday night, next door to my hometown of Hempstead, NY, I took in the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks battle at Nassau Coliseum.
It ended up being an overtime thriller. Ultimately, the game didn’t count for anything, but it may have been a preview of what’s to come when the two teams square off on Nov. 1 when the Knicks will play the Nets in the first ever NBA regular season game in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
As far as preseason games go, the game was exciting. The man of the match?
It wasn’t Deron Williams—though he was the high scorer—and it wasn’t Carmelo Anthony. It wasn’t Raymond Felton and no, it wasn’t Joe Johnson.
It was the oldest rookie in NBA history, 35-year old Argentinean Pablo Prigioni.
That’s right, Pablo Prigioni.
Sitting courtside, I got an up close and personal look at Prigioni. I saw him move like a butterfly, play excellent pick-and-roll basketball, and stand his ground on the defensive end. Sure, it was preseason, but it doesn’t take all day to figure out if the Sun is shining.
Get my drift?
When it was all said and done, Prigioni proved to me that he’s—at worst—a rotation guard in the NBA. He’s a better-than- advertised spot shooter and is in excellent physical shape. At 35-years old, he’s like the old guy at the local YMCA who stretches, does jumping jacks and warms up for 10 minutes prior to taking the tip-off.
But once he’s warm? He shows the young boys how it’s done. Prigioni might be a rookie in the NBA, but he’s been playing professional basketball for more than 15 years. By the end of the night, he would dish out 11 assists and grab three steals in 33 minutes of action.
Very impressive, even for preseason.