In the series “Clippers Free Agent Retrospective”, we’re looking back at the mark left by players who departed Los Angeles in free agency this summer. We tackled Jeff Green on Thursday, and now we’re looking back at a much more beloved, yet marginal, figure: Pablo Prigioni.
Name: Pablo Prigioni
Key Clipper Facts:
39-Year-Old Argentinian point guard in his fourth NBA season.
Signed for a one-year, league minimum deal with the Clippers in August (agreed in late July) after being traded from Houston to Denver and waived by Denver.
Played 59 games as the Clippers’ part-time backup point guard. Averaged 13.9 minutes and 2.5 points, 2.2 assists, 1.9 rebounds, and 0.9 steals per game. Those translate to per 36 averages of 6.3 points, 5.7 assists, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.3 steals.
Career 37.9% three-point shooter who shot just 29.5% from deep as a Clipper.
Played in five of the Clippers’ six playoff games for a total of 26 minutes. He did not score on his 5 shots (2 3PA) and finished with 7 assists and 3 rebounds.
Pablo Prigioni came in as a minimum-salaried third stringer. He’s a player who was seen as a reliable option at point guard, a savvy veteran with athletic shortcomings defensively, and an unselfish creator and floor-spacer.
Pablo played about as well as we could have expected him to. One of the things I was most excited about was his shooting, but his three-point percentage plummeted from his career average to a very poor rate. It hardly ended up mattering. Prigioni played part-time when the backup guard unit of Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford was leading a stalling offense, and he did an excellent job. He was no threat to score (often times to the extent that defenses played off of him), but the offense ran more smoothly with him on the floor, and the Pablo Prigioni-Cole Aldrich pick-and-roll carried the Clippers bench for a while during the middle of the season.
On the defensive end, Pablo was less consistent but remarkably pesky. His steal numbers were absurdly high (almost 1 a game in just 14 minutes), and he tied an all-time Clippers record with 8(!) in a single game. Overall, he wasn’t strong or quick defensively. He wasn’t a stopper by any means, but his ability to get a quick steal and layup (or assist) helped to make up for that.
We will never forget Pablo. In fact, I’m pretty sure that most of Clips Nation will miss him, at least a little bit. I know I will.
The truth of the matter is that the Clippers found a talent upgrade for Pablo’s position in Raymond Felton. The former Dallas Maverick gives the Clippers a lot of options that Pablo couldn’t, and their three-guard lineups will be more well-balanced because of it. Felton also played big minutes and started games for a playoff team last season—he’s more capable of making an all-around contribution and playing a consistent role than Pablo, who was a niche guy.
So I’m not blasting the Clippers for not re-signing Pablo when I say that I’ll miss him—they made the right move. But I’ll miss the unique style and old man game he brought to the court, and he was a big part of Clippers cult legend Cole Aldrich’s breakout season.