All three veterans also used to play for the New York Knicks.
So there are probably more than a few Knicks fans struggling with the sight of these players thriving in the playoffs.
On Sunday, Knicks president Phil Jackson tweeted some thoughts on his ex-players.
2)we are glad for JR,Shump,Pablo,etc...players have comfort zones that they need to play their best...we want them to find that in NBA
— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) May 24, 2015
Jackson traded Smith and Shumpert to Cleveland in early January in a three-team deal. At the time, the trade yielded two future second-round picks, a couple of trade exceptions and two players the Knicks would waive and then re-sign.
Jackson also dealt Prigioni at February’s trade deadline for Alexey Shved and a pair of second-round picks.
The trades helped them clear some cap space for this summer, but they also left Jackson open to criticism because he got little in return for Smith and Shumpert. Jackson hopes to rebuild the Knicks through the draft and free agency. New York has the fourth pick in June's draft.
One aspect of Phil's tweet from Sunday that's worth questioning: Why couldn't the Knicks find a "comfort zone" for Smith, Shumpert and Prigioni?
No three-for-all: Earlier this month, Jackson tweeted his displeasure about playoff teams that rely heavily on the 3-point shot.
On Sunday, he continued to rant against those teams, tweeting that the 3-point shot “is not the be all, end all of basketball.”
“(To) play for 3pt shot is an error. Penetration, first principal of offense,” Jackson tweeted.
If this theory regarding penetration is true, then the Knicks’ offensive struggles in 2014-15 make sense. They ranked last in drives per game.
Also, it’s worth noting that the four teams still alive in the NBA playoffs ranked 1-4 in 3-point attempts per game in the postseason.
All four teams also ranked in the top 10 in regular season 3-point attempts per game (Houston 1, Cleveland 2 and Golden State 4, are all in the top five).
Jackson on Sunday went as far as to attack the WNBA’s experimental preseason game in which shots from the midrange were not allowed in the first 10 minutes.
“WNBA is taking their exhibition game to extremes-do not disvalue the 2pt shot,” Jackson tweeted.
Clearly, many of the top NBA teams rely heavily on the 3-point. It has become a valuable tool for teams looking to score points in an efficient manner. Still, it's silly to blindly dismiss Jackson's opinion. After all, he has won 11 championships as a coach.
It's worth noting here that trends shift all the time in professional sports. So teams relying on the 3-point may continue to thrive. Or, defenses may adjust, taking away opportunities on the perimeter. This could create a need for offenses to find another way to exploit the best defense.
If that's the case, Phil's views on the 3-point shot will be vindicated. If not, the Knicks president may look out of touch here.