Name: Pablo Prigioni
Weight: 180 lbs.
Experience: 3 seasons (in NBA)
Contract: 1 year at $938,348, all guaranteed
2014-2015 Stats: 67 games played, 4.1/1.8/2.6 and 1.2 steals per game on 39.9/34.3/85.4 shooting in 17.9 minutes
NBA career Stats: 3.8/1.9/3.0 and 1.0 steals per game on 43.7/39.8/87.2 in 17.7 minutes
Player Overview: If you did an online search for the term "crafty veteran", Pablo Prigioni's name would probably pop up somewhere under the NBA section. At 38, and never among the most athletic players at his position anyway, Prigioni plays a much different style of basketball than the high flying "Lob City" associated with the Clippers for the past few years. He dribbles slowly up the court, surveys the floor, and runs the play or (rarely) takes a shot. Crucially for the Clippers, his decision making is usually quite good, which should be a breath of fresh air amongst the other bench ball handlers. Austin Rivers, Lance Stephenson, and Jamal Crawford all bring good things to the table, but consistent decision making on offense is none of their strong suites.
This makes Prigioni an ideal backup point guard, with one significant caveat: he can only play around 15 minutes per game on a regular basis. Because the Clippers have Chris Paul this shouldn't be a big deal, but if CP3 ever goes down to injury (fingers crossed), Pablo is not capable of stepping into a starting role for more than a game or two. This would in turn force the aforementioned guards into more of a playmaking role, which is out of their general comfort zone (Stephenson is too ball dominant to truly run a free flowing Clippers style offense). Therefore, any significant CP3 injury might force a trade of some kind for a more legit replacement.
Prigioni is not washed up however. In his first two years in the league he was a well above average three point shooter, and his main problem was not taking enough of them. His outside shooting fell sharply last year, but it has a good chance to recover this season. Prigioni will make solid point guard passes along with some flashy and difficult plays, and is pretty good at not turning the ball over. Again unlike the other Clippers guards, he is not really capable of offensively taking over a game, since he lacks off the dribble game and the burst to get to the basket, but he makes up for it in steadiness.
On defense, Pablo is a risk taking steal machine. His lack of speed and lateral movement means he can't play the kind of perimeter defense that Austin Rivers can, but his basketball awareness and IQ makes him phenomenal at stripping ball handlers and intercepting passing lanes. He has averaged a little over a steal a game in his career, and that's in only 18 minutes of time. Pablo is very pesky, which can also get into his opponents' heads, especially if they are already not playing well. Prigioni would get very exposed trying to cover starting point guards, but hopefully it will not come to that.
Pablo Prigioni has been a beloved fan favorite in both New York and Houston (ask about him at Posting and Toasting, the Knicks SB Nation blog, and you will see an outpouring of affection), and should be one in LA. He makes correct plays, hits open shots, and just helps his team win games. While he probably won't get more than 12 minutes a game, if that, the assurance of having him backup Chris Paul will allow Doc Rivers to sleep easier at night. He is just another piece in the puzzle of the Clippers' bench, one that will hopefully enable them to make a run at the NBA championship. At 38, and with a tremendous international career as a key member of Argentina's great golden age of basketball behind him, there would be no greater send off for Pablo than an NBA ring.