Knicks fans have been fortunate enough to see Carmelo Anthony play a crucial role for Team USA during the Olympics, helping lead his team to a 4-0 record thus far. The star forward has filled it up offensively, holding his own next to scoring juggernaut teammates like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kobe Bryant.
As my pal Tommy Dee notes, however, Anthony has still struggled to garner praise from media and fans alike, largely in part due to his inability to advance past the first round of the NBA playoffs, and a rumored negative attitude.
Even so, if this summer's Olympics are any indication, the Brooklyn native clearly still has the ability to rise above as one of the league's best players. The motivation to do so is certainly there, as Anthony continues to see fellow top members of his 2003 NBA draft class win championship rings.
But before Anthony begins to make sure an NBA championship doesn't continue to allude him, an Olympic Gold Medal is in his sights. Tonight, one of his newest Knicks teammates stands in his way.
Team USA will take on Argentina later tonight in London, where Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and company will come face to face with Pablo Prigioni and other notable NBA talents.
An unexpected acquisition, Prigioni signed with the Knicks this offseason simply for a shot to break into The Association. Though he will likely play behind both Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd next season, the guard comes to New York well aware of and ready to embrace his role.
Having watched Argentinian teammates like Manu Ginobli, Carlos Delfino, Luis Scola, and Andres Nocioni all make it to the NBA, Prigioni should have a good idea of what it takes. Tonight, it'll be Knicks fans' turn to watch him.
Though he's penciled in as the third-stringer for New York at the moment, Prigioni could still end up with ample opportunities to hit the hardwood next season. Felton has some big shoes to fill with regard to replacing Jeremy Lin, and after missing 18 games last season, it's unknown how durable 39 year old Kidd will be.
What's more, Prigioni is a savvy pass-first floor general who knows how to get his teammates involved. Thus, it's very possible he could see time on the court alongside one of the other two point guards in a smaller lineup.
It certainly doesn't hurt that Prigioni is already beginning to gain the respect of a player with Anthony's talent, either.
UPDATED 5:16 PM EST: Turns out Prigioni will not play for Argentina against Team USA tonight, as per Marc Berman...