So, while most people, including myself, are caught in the rapture of the pre-draft evaluations- the mock drafts and the combines and the practices and scouting reports and blogging reports (such as this I guess)- I for some reason found myself reflecting on an abstract at the opposite pole of what this draft symbolizes. Instead of thinking of the new, talented upside players, for some reason, I found myself curious about how Mike James performed compared to Jamaal Tinsley this past season. And then that got me thinking about Pablo Prigioni.
To preface what you are about to see below, each of the supporting 3rd string options at point guard had to step up and start for their team for some extended stretch of the season, whether it was 18 straight games or 28. All of these old dudes were up to the task, and they actually out-performed their team when they did so. I'm trying to figure out if there is some other phenomenon taking place here, because no team in its right mind would put these players in their starting rotations, and yet, the winning record recorded when they were at the helm was better than their teams season record. Surely, there must be an odd phenomenon of old men changing up the style just enough to keep things just unpredictable enough to keep their team on the winning edge.
The Home% stat refers to the percentage of the games in that stretch that were played at home. Obviously many can see Prigioni had the most competitive game record, whereas Tinsley and James had the better part of those games on their own respective home courts.
Many people recognized TInsley's winning record as superior to Mo William's injury-plagued season losing record. For being 35 and recently reborn from the dead (or D-league, I'm not sure which), Tinsley (age 35) showed that he was still relevant and decent enough to scrape out wins (Utah was 17-11 under Tinsley starting in 28 games at PG), and wins they got. He even averaged 1.2 steals per game in only 25 minutes per game, and dished out 5 assists. Not bad.
37-year-old Mike James would do him one better though. James shot 41% from the 3-point line, average 8+ points per game and still managed to dish out 4+ assist per game. That wasn't the real bonus though. The big acknowledgment lays in their winning records. Mike James started in 23 straight games, where Dallas (a .500 team on the season) went 15-8, one of the best stretches in the season they had. Pablo Prigioni, the 3rd string for the New York Knicks would do them even one better. He led the Knicks in a stretch of 18 games to a 16-2 record in that run, at one point winning 12 in a row. Yeah, I think most people forgot about their 12-game win streak. And everyone forgot to give the 36-year-old straight-out-of-the-Spanish-league Prigioni props for keeping it going with 45% 3-point shooting, 52% FG shooting, and 3.4 assists.
For those records, here were their salaries:
The % in shooting almost climbs with decrease in cost. As much as Utah fans thought they might've been getting something magical out of Jamaal Tinsley's Rucker-style play, the real New York was benefiting from an 89% winning rate when Prigioni was taking over the PG position, and he cost the least for the job. Way to go New York.
This isn't suppose to be a post about to save more money by paying less than half-a-million for an out-dated point guard dinosaur, but I think it does go to show that it may very well not only not hurt a team, but potentially benefit a team, to have one of these out-dated veterans backing up the team in those tough stretches.