By Will Balsam
In the NBA 83 percent of the players are non-white, including a majority 78 percent black. This has triggered a stereotype that white men can’t play basketball. I personally don’t agree with the stereotype, for the only thing that matters is who has the most talent. However, this piece is about the three white players, Jason Kidd, Steve Novak, and Pablo Prigioni, on the New York Knicks and how they are and aren’t affecting the playoff run. First of course, is the future first ballot Hall-of-Famer, Jason Kidd. Jason Kidd has been averaging nearly 25 minutes per game in the playoffs, but has not scored in the last 6 games. This is an all-time playoff record for the most minutes played in a rom without a single point. The only question remaining to a fan that only cares about who is scoring the most is, why is Mike Woodson still playing Kidd so much? This question, however, has a very simple answer, the intangibles. Kidd simply adds so much on court presence and veteran leadership that just doesn’t show up in the box score. He has been playing great on-ball defense, considering he is 40-years-old, and has been a key factor for the overall team defense because of how vocal he is. When it comes to the offensive end he doesn’t need to score in order to help out. Kidd can run the offense without even playing point-guard by simply telling players where to go and motioning the players around. He’s an on-the-court coach. There was one play this postseason when Carmelo Anthony was feeling it, so when Felton looked to pass it to Kidd, Kidd forced Felton to go right back to Melo.
Steve Novak on the other hand has been an utter disappointment all season and not just in the postseason. There isn’t much to say about Novak other than he’s in the game to make his 3-point-attempts, and when he doesn’t, he is just a waste of space and money. He also just causes havoc for the Knicks defense because he can’t play one-on-one with anybody so he either ends up fouling the opposing player or giving them a wide-open look at the basket. This has been the overall reason for Woodson decision to reduce Novak’s minutes colossally.
Last but certainly not least, is the Argentinian, 35-year-old, NBA rookie, Pablo Prigioni. In just 22 minutes per game Pablo has been able to have an effect on the Knicks team that is unmeasureable. Prigioni has hit big 3-point-shots that get the Knicks out of a slump and has come up with huge steals that get the crowd going and the Knicks team hyped. The crowd in the last game was chanting PAB-LO PAB-LO when the Knicks went on their 30-2 run that blew the Pacers away and got the Knicks the win. It wasn’t ME-LO, but the minimum salary Pablo Prigioni. It seems like every game that Pablo plays well the New York Knickerbockers find a way to win. In my opinion, Pablo Prigioni is the X-FACTOR.