There are a few players that would compete for the most underpaid New York Knick. The two candidates that stood out to me were Pablo Prigioni and Metta World Peace. I will give a quick break down on each player individually, then decide who I believe to be the most underpaid Knick.
Many may be scratching their heads at why I thought Pablo may be underpaid, and that is because of many reasons. He is averaging some great numbers and able to fill the stat sheets very well. Pablo traditionally plays the point, but with Mike Woodson he may have more play time if he decides to play a double point offence where Pablo may get significant minutes in the 2 spot.
Pablo averages 7.8 points, 6.7 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals per 36 minutes. This is not super star or star level, but it is more than respectable for a player of his calibre. He is very selective with his shooting and as a result managed to get a .40 3P%, .46 FG% and a .88 FT% At 1.5 million a year the Knicks were happy with the re-signing of Prigioni. Know that Prigioni has only played in the NBA and with the Knicks for only a year. As he adapts to both the league and the Knicks I believe his assists will rise. Definitely a good decision to keep Prigioni on for another 3 years.
I am sure Metta World Peace needs no introduction and has proven to be a phenomenal player with his time spent at the Lakers Organisation. He averaged 12.4 points, 5 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game, all while playing a little over 30 minutes a game. I believe being with the Knicks Metta will be able to put up similar stats, but I have a suspicion that he will average 15+ points per game. He chose New York as he wants to be home, and being with a team he wants to play with will definitely bring out the best basketball he can deliver.
In this coming season there is no doubt that Metta World Peace is the most underpaid Knick in the team. This is partially to do with the fact that Metta seems to want to play in New York and was willing to have a significant salary cut, coming from the Lakers.
There has to be an honorable mention that goes out to Jason Kidd for his oncourt presence throughout his career and for the year he played with the Knicks. However seeing as he has moved to management and has recently retired from the NBA and is no longer a Knick. He was unable to compete for the most underpaid Knick.
When talking about the greatest Centers that are currently playing in the NBA it is hard to go past Dwight Howard. Dwight has received a lot of hate and discrimination from the LA community for leaving and his sub par effort with the Lakers this past year. Many say he had great potential, and that he is currently the best center in the league. It is true he did mention that he is willing to play in the PF position next to Omer Asik this coming 2013-2014 season with the Houston Rockets. However nothing is confirmed yet. He does have the athleticism to compete with the Power Forwards in the NBA, but undoubtedly his true position is Center and the whole PF, Center debate is for another time.
Dwight is still very raw, and full of potential. It is an unfair statement to say that “potential has a shelf life” and Dwight will no longer be able to improve as a player. His health may be a concern, but when Dwight is healthy his athleticism is phenomenal to say the least. As long as he has this, he has potential. He needs to work in the post and on his free throws. Defensively I would say Dwight is solid however its ugly to watch his offence in the post. His strength allows him to pull through and still finish hard at the rim, giving him one of the highest FG% compared to other Centers in the league.
The only way to say whether or not Dwight is a great Center or the greatest Center currently playing in the NBA is to compare him to other greats. There are many great Centers in the league and I have to say there are no dominant Center that stands out from the league like there has been in the past.
Defensively you have the likes of Marc Gasol, Tyson Chandler and KG. However it wouldn’t be right not to mention Dwight in the mix. Defensively Marc Gasol is currently the best Center, however Dwight overall is significantly better as a Center as he is able to put up points and work the glass far better than Marc Gasol.
When it comes to offense I believe Dwight is the best Center. Looking throughout his career, he doesn’t need to improve on his record merely leave behind his injuries and the Lakers and just be the dominant Center he was and we know he can be. Getting 20 points, 13-14 rebounds, 2-3 blocks per game. He will need to perform in this coming season to show that he is truely the best Center in the league. Moving to LA was not the best for Dwight and was just a hurdle in his career.
I wouldn’t say Dwight is the greatest Center playing in the NBA at the moment, but he is a great Center that will continue to improve with the guidance of Kevin McHale and Hakeem as mentors. I am sure when he gets back into the groove and fills up the stat sheets with the numbers he has shown in the past, he will be capable of regaining the “Best Center” in the NBA title back no problem. While saying that, none of the current Centers in the league stand out enough to be the outright best Center in the NBA at the moment.