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View Full Version : The Steals of the Draft "Hoopshype" AJ mentioned



vnzla81
01-17-2010, 02:23 PM
http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=15007

By: Joel Brigham
Say all you want about Brandon Jennings and Tyreke Evans, but this class of rookie point guards lists longer than just the two Rookie of the Year candidates. Those two guys come into the league this season with a combined one year of college experience—but it's their potential that's rocketed them to the fore of their class.

However, a couple of rookie point guards that both played four years of college basketball at two of the most respected college hoops program in the country have shown their own abilities to contribute immediately in this league. The keys to the car haven't been handed quite so freely to Pacers guard A.J. Price and Hornets guard Darren Collison, but long-term there's a bright future for these two young men. Maybe not quite as bright as Evans and Jennings, but bright all the same.

Lately Price has seen a tremendous boost in minutes with the benching of former starter T.J. Ford, and he's made quite a bit of that time, as Indiana head coach Jim O'Brien explains.

"We thought the night of the draft that there was a chance we had the steal of the draft," O'Brien said, adding, "Since we have moved him into the back-up role at the point guard spot he has done exactly what we anticipated he would do and he's done it on a consistent basis."

In that spot he's averaging almost 11 points per game and 3.6 assists per game. That's quite a bit above his season averages of 6.5 points and 1.8 assists, but Price is keeping a cool head about his recent success.

"[My role] hasn't changed much," Price said about his boost in playing time. "The only difference now is that I've been getting in the game and playing with the guys more. I hadn't had many opportunities to play with them until recently, and that's been the best part."

Price, who played four years at the University of Connecticut, comes into this season with much more experience than some of his counterparts, and Collison, similarly, got four years of experience at UCLA. The recent success of Price brings back shades of Collison's success in the absence of Chris Paul earlier this season. Lately, Collison is back to playing scant minutes behind the league leader in assists, but there was a time when he was the starter on this team and blowing people's minds with his speed and leadership.

"I just wanted to take full advantage of my opportunity while he was out, and I think I showed people that I can be a full starter in the league when I get the opportunity," Collison said.

In his eight games as a starter, he averaged 14.9 points and 6.4 assists—not exactly a replacement for Chris Paul, but not bad for the 21st pick in the draft. A lot of people doubted that pick because of New Orleans's other needs, but instead of going with young and promising the Hornets opted for experience and maturity, which Collison himself claimed is something fewer and fewer organizations are doing.

View Joel Brigham Archive "You see a lot of young guys coming in and contributing right away, which is good for them, but we seniors know the game a little better. We've been around longer, we're more mature, physically we're more mature, and we're ready to play the game."

Paul, Collison's mentor of sorts, was impressed with how well the rookie did in his absence. "It surprised us initially, but we knew he was capable of it," Paul said. "I think I was probably the most excited for him, but the biggest thing for him is that now that I'm back, when he comes in I don't think he's as aggressive as when I was out. We're just trying to keep encouraging him, letting him know we have the utmost confidence in him, and telling him that when he's on the floor it's his team."

Price summed it up nicely, talking about the depth of this year's draft class and where he and Collison fit into it. "When you talk about this year's class as far as the draft was concerned, there were a lot of point guards mentioned, but only two or three in the top tier. It was a very deep, deep class this year at the point guard position, and Darren and I definitely are in a similar boat. He came out of [UCLA] with four years of experience. He did a lot for that school, and I feel pretty much the same way about myself—four years at UConn and still getting drafted 52nd. But all that is history now. At this point we're both in the league, and when we get our opportunities we just have to be ready."

In limited chances both guys seem to have done exactly that. They don't have the flash of Jennings or Evans, but they've certainly got the talent and savvy to experience some longevity in this league as legitimate point guards. Either one of them could end up with an opportunity to start in the not-too-distant future. If they do then what they're just starting to show they can do now, the Pacers and Hornets will be even happier with their former draft selections than already currently are.

rexnom
01-17-2010, 02:47 PM
[My role] hasn't changed much. The only difference now is that I've been getting in the game and playing with the guys more. I hadn't had many opportunities to play with them until recently, and that's been the best part.
It's always great to have guys on your team like this.

Naptown_Seth
01-17-2010, 03:14 PM
Collison is NBA quick, very talented handles. However the reason I ranked him rather low was because he consistently ball hogged at UCLA. He had a squad with Westbrook, Love, Moute, and Shipp and then had Holliday and Shipp back, and still chose to dribble for his own forced shot way more than find someone else.

Example: vs Stanford near the end of Love's season DC took 16 shots, with Love getting 13, Westbrook 12, Shipp 9 and Moute 9. That's your SG and 3 NBA players, 2 potential all-star NBA players.

This is still what I see in his game. Last night he was quick and could score for himself well, but he's got a massive Travis Best streak in him where guys like Jennings, Price and I think ultimately Holiday remain more pass-first guys.

Price has shot a bit too much at times, but I credit that on two things: JOB and sometimes being paired with 3 or 4 weak or cold scorers. Last night he ended up in a weird rotation with lots of Troy and Dun, and with them cold and Troy not really a good PnR fit with Price, he ended up stuck looking at stalled out sets. That results in him shooting more than he normally would I think.

Now if Collison can be reigned in finally, after years of running free in college, then he will be a steal. But there were reasons he fell.

He is a great, quick defender. Too small for inside defense, but great at slowing the ball down up top.



However, when you get a player that can go 20-20 for you and is on track to be a lifer 9-10 rpg tough guy type well into the 2nd round, you get dibs on the "steal" title. The dude has 8 double digit rebound games this year, 14 games of 8+, and he's 57% from the floor. His 36 minute rebound pace is over 12 a night, and in the last week he's had 21 and 16 rebound nights. He's the monster his supporters said he would be.

And Jerebko is in the same ballpark as Blair and was a 2nd round guy.

Also Sam Young is getting nice minutes and making good on them. Budinger is off his pace lately but still productive. Marcus Thornton is just a tad off of them IMO.

Lots of PT for 2nd round guys this year, especially compared to some of the no-minutes guys from round 1. And really if you are going to bump Collison then he's behind Casspi who was drafted after him.



HOWEVER, if you want to play technical, Price is the latest guy drafted that has gotten serious minutes and show quality production so far. I think part of the steal aspect with him is that it feels like just the beginning. He appears to be ready to start climbing the rookie ranks statistically, so he should see his output/draft position ratio really climb.

I'd like to see what Patty Mills can do after he's recovered. Darn shame about his injury. I like(d) Price more, but Mills could be a steal too and picked in the same area.

Sookie
01-17-2010, 04:00 PM
Price has shot a bit too much at times, but I credit that on two things: JOB and sometimes being paired with 3 or 4 weak or cold scorers. Last night he ended up in a weird rotation with lots of Troy and Dun, and with them cold and Troy not really a good PnR fit with Price, he ended up stuck looking at stalled out sets. That results in him shooting more than he normally would I think.

.

I've said this before. Price naturally wants to be the "typical point guard." Pass first, wouldn't be the name for it, but "makes the correct play" would be better. However, as much as I think he's a very well rounded player, he's best at scoring. (well of the tangibles, being a "floor general" is probably his best attribute)

Stick him on the court with Solo, DJones, a Cold Dunleavy and Tyler (and other sorts of rotations like that)..and suddenly he knows he's a more efficient scorer than the rest.

then there's the fact that I'm sure JOB told him to take every open shot he gets, particulary a three. I've read stuff about being nervous about AJ buying into JOB's system a little too much. Don't worry about it, he'll "buy" into whoever else's system comes next, just as much. It's a Long Island point guard thing. He's just gonna do exactly what JOB tell him to do.