Clippers-Hornets in Shanghai: 5 key things to look out for

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Sep 25, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Pablo Prigioni (9) poses for a photo during media day at the Clipper Training Facility in Playa Vista. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Pablo Prigioni: The perfect backup point guard

It could only be expected that the Clippers’ new bench would get off to a shaky start, but one figure of stability in the new group of players has been veteran point guard Pablo Prigioni. When Paul and Rivers were sidelined in the first game against the Hornets, Prigioni stepped up as the starter with 30 minutes. His stat line of 5 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists doesn’t sound incredible, yet his play style is exactly what the Clippers need off the bench.

More than anything else, it’s Prigioni’s patience and basketball IQ that makes him a perfect fit in the second unit. From waiting to make passes at the right moment when teammates cut to the basket, to passing into the post over defenders, Prigioni keeps showing that he has plenty to offer. Even his general attitude is perfect for a new team like the Clippers. It’s why the rest of his squad love him both on and off the court.

On top of that, he continues to showcase his pesky defense, regardless of the fact he’s 38 years old.

Through his first three games with the Clippers, Prigioni has shot 37.5 percent from three point range while showing what he can do at both ends of the floor in his 30 minute performance against the Hornets. Until that night, he’d played no more than 13 minutes in his previous two games, so the sudden increase to his role undoubtedly gave Doc Rivers a better idea of what he can do.

Which, for a second unit at the beginning of a difficult development process, is the ability to control the pace of the game and play with intelligence at both ends of the floor.

His playing time will plummet if Paul and Rivers are indeed back for the second game against the Hornets (which is expected), but make sure to focus on how Prigioni makes a difference in short bursts off the bench.

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