"If I moonwalk after I get a rebound, that's exciting. If [Andrew Bynum] does, like, a cartwheel, take his shirt off, and [puts] electrical shocks on his nipples and starts doing the Electric Slide, that's exciting." - Ron Artest
Messina left behind some talent, much of which he brought in. Argentine veteran point guard Pablo Prigioni is still in place, although his skills are starting to slip. As he ages and slows, Prigioni's famously great defense is fading, and his ability to get to the basket and create his own shot is largely gone too. The current version of Prigioni is thus rather limited; a good outside shooter, good playmaker, pass-first leader point guard with incredibly low turnover numbers, but who is no longer a threat to do much in (or get within) the paint, and who can be exposed by speedy opponents. Behind him, Sergio Rodriguez - in his first season back in Spain after his four years in the NBA - was having a decent season, albeit with rather high turnover numbers and poor outside shooting. However, he has suffered a thigh injury and will miss a month, including the whole quarter finals series. That places a point guard burden on Sergio Llull. And while Llull is awesome - arguably the most athletic non-American guard outside of the USA, with plenty of flair, passing, transition finishes and threes - he is not a point guard, even if he is 6'3. With Rodriguez injured and Prigioni ageing, though, he's going to now have to be, so maybe the experience will help him grow at the position.
Prigoni left Tau Vitoria this summer after six years there, and moved to Real Madrid as a part of Ettore Messina's complete makeover of the place. He averages 6.9 points and 3.4 assists per game in the ACB, alongside 7.0 points and 4.5 assists in their now-ended Euroleague campaign. However, his defense, which was always a calling card of his, has started to slip. This is to be expected from a man who turns 33 next month.
Further to this, the new and considerably not improved version of Amar'e Stoudemire is nevertheless having some effect in his offensive bench role. Over the five games, Stoudemire has totalled 51 points and 33 rebounds - more Carl Landry than Karl Malone at this point, Amar'e is nevertheless providing size, offense and bench firepower from a team starved of all three. And further to that, the man who started the season as the team's fourth point guard (out of five), Toure Murry, has provided a welcome defensive influence. Barely playing to begin the season, Murry has seen more time recently in the absence of Pablo Prigioni, and used his combination of size, speed and good hands to become a significant defensive presence at the point guard position. Whilst he himself is limited offensively, Murry nevertheless brings energy, speed, a full-court game and intensity to a point guard spot normally manned by the antithesis of that, Raymond Felton. Prigioni brought the defense, but not the dynamicism, and with an extended run, Murry could potentially oust both him and Beno Udrih in the point guard rotation.
Note: Non-US teams that the player
has played for are, unless stated otherwise, from the top division in
that nation. If a league or division name is expressly stated, it's not
the top division. The only exceptions to this are the rare occasions where
no one league is said to be above the other, such as with the JBL/BJ League
split in Japan.