Going into the 2014-15 season, not one person expected Joey Dorsey and Pablo Prigioni to contribute meaningful minutes to the Houston Rockets. Reasonable expectations for both; one of them was on the New York Knicks and the other hadn't played in the NBA for three seasons. But the wheel of the NBA turns in mysterious ways, much like the rear left wheel of a Geo hatchback.
Though Prigs and Dorsey were both bit players forced into expanded roles due to injury, the similarities end there. One of them was a delight to watch, despite obvious flaws. The other caused pain and resignation every minute he was on the floor.
Pablo Prigioni: The Trickster Spirit
Acquired from the Knicks at the trade deadline for the immortal Alexey Shved and a couple of future second-round picks, Prigioni only played 24 regular season games for the Rockets, but he was memorable. If Houston had been healthy, Pablo might have averaged eight minutes or less per game. But once Patrick Beverley injured his wrist, Prigs became part of perhaps the oldest, crustiest point guard rotation in NBA history -- and goddammit, it kinda worked.
The rest of the team was good enough that Terry and Pablo became a charming part of the story (until Stephen Curry flambéd them), like when an otherwise attractive, put-together individual is forced to drive a Geo to work for a couple weeks while the Audi's in the shop. (It's a highly complimentary car comparison to Patrick Beverley, and it will IN NO WAY involve Ty Lawson or a DUI joke.) For Pablo's inability to play man-on-man defense, he was still as sneaky as they come. Look no further than his Game 7 heists of Chris Paul:
That will keep you warm in this cold, dark offseason, especially when you realize that he will never have as great of a moment for the Los Angeles Clippers (his new team) as he did against them. He was inspiringly good at keeping the ball moving on offense (his offensive rating for Houston was a sterling 118), even though he passed up more open three-pointers than every other Rocket combined.
Sure, he hit below 30 percent of his three-pointers in Houston, but that was over a smaller sample size than the 41 percent he averaged over two and a half seasons on the Knicks. In truth, he was the opposite of many Rockets: a reputed knockdown shooter with a hesitant trigger finger.
It would have been nice to have a little more time with Pablo so he could become the cult figure he deserved to be, but he was traded away as part of a package of spare parts to bring Ty Lawson over, boosting the Rockets' point guard depth more than he ever did on the team. For this (and for embarrassing Chris Paul twice in a Game 7), we owe Pablo our thanks. Happy trails, you tricky bastard.
Joey Dorsey: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Oh, Joey, Joey, Joey. What can you say about a man who averaged 6.6 fouls per 36 minutes over the 2014-15 season? Who had more turnovers than assists and never scored more than 8 points in a game? Who played center while listed at 6'8", providing nearly as poor defense as he did offense? Who still played nearly TEN TIMES as many minutes as the better-in-every-way Clint Capela?
You can say that Kevin McHale likes his veterans, and that the Rockets still made the Conference Finals with him on the roster. You can also say that, like Prigioni, Dorsey helped bring Ty Lawson to Houston with his presence on the roster and tradable salary. His defense was better than a 6'8" center's should have been, but it wasn't that good, and his offense was, shall we say, limited:
Look, we like to kid around about Dorsey (me more than most, probably), but it wasn't all bad news when he was on the court. Why, someone even made a seven-minute-long(?!?!?!?!?!) highlight reel of Joey's 2014-15 season!
He does like to dunk, that Gorilla Dunks. But much like a Geo, while Dorsey may seem perfectly fine while you're using him, and could perhaps even convince you that he's as good as other options, the ruse quickly fails when you actually look around and see your other options are all younger and better. Like Clint Capela, who I guess would be a Scion xD in this analogy. Sure, he's not an elite car, but look at all the youth and potential in there? (Not to be confused with the Nissan Cube, which would be Cole Aldrich, since you asked.)
McHale desperately turned to Capela in the playoffs, and was SHOCKED to find that a competent shot blocker and pick-and-roll finisher was on the roster THIS WHOLE TIME, so while Prigioni had his last moment in the sun, Dorsey was only a rumor. Now that he's a Nugget, we can look back fondly on Dorsey's second Rockets tenure as the representative of how improbable the Rockets' run was this past season. They got a 2-seed playing Dorsey more than 10 minutes a game? Why wasn't James Harden the MVP again?
Pablo Prigioni gave us memorable moments and was an unflappable ball-handler even with his limitations. Defensively he was a liability, but for a few minutes at a time, he was great fun. Grade: B
Joey Dorsey was on the Rockets last year. Grade: G (For Gorilla Dunks, and because it's lower than F)