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MillerTime
01-26-2010, 12:22 PM
Not even the most clairvoyant of scribes could have predicted that Earl Watson would be the starting point guard of the Indiana Pacers over T.J. Ford at this point in the season.

Watson, a hard-working veteran, however, isn’t the story. Instead its rookie A.J. Price, who is playing important minutes in the NBA despite serious doubt not long ago whether or not he would even finish his career at Connecticut.

Price suffered a torn ACL in March of 2008 as the Huskies were upset in overtime by San Diego State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The injury, which occurred during his junior season, was just the latest in a long-line of issues.

A brain hemorrhage cut his freshman season short and Price missed two seasons after undergoing a procedure to correct the condition that brought on the hemorrhage. Then he was suspended during his sophomore campaign for being involved in the theft of some laptops in Storrs.

After returning for a relatively successful senior season, Price wasn't a lock to be drafted. However, the Pacers took a flyer on him with the 54th overall pick and he survived to make the final roster out of training camp.

After averaging fewer than 10 minutes per game over the first two months of the season, Price has been the beneficiary of Ford's demotion in Indiana.

Even with Ford glued to the bench, Price has learned from both of the veterans on Indiana’s roster.

"I try to learn as much as possible from the guards, Earl [Watson] and T.J. [Ford], guys who have played at a high level,” Price told RealGM. “So, anything I can pick up from them, I try to.”

He's played at least 13 minutes in thirteen consecutive games and he's handling his role as backup to Watson rather nicely. He's made the adjustment from DNP-Coach's Decision to rotation player look like an easy one.

"It's a huge adjustment,” the first-year guard said. “You know, being a rookie you've just got to wait your turn. You aren't really sure when you're going to get your chance, but when you do you've got to be ready to perform."

In January, Price has performed. He is averaging 10.1 points and 3.1 assists on 41.5% shooting from the floor (52.6 TS%) over 20.8 minutes per game. He still has a propensity to turn the ball over, a carryover from his UConn days, but he's been respectable (1.6 assist/turnover ratio) considering his lack of professional experience.

Price's greatest piece of work came on Jan. 9 in Indiana's 108-102 loss to Oklahoma City. He scored a career-high 23 points on 9-for-15 shooting in 24 minutes of action.

He tends to foul a lot for a perimeter player, 2.6 per 36 minutes with four fouls on three occasions, but he's still adjusting to the timing of the NBA. He still hasn’t surpassed the 400-minute mark in his career. You might stay he's still the equivalent of a deer hobbling on young legs.

With Ford glued to the bench, O'Brien has displayed quite a bit of confidence in his rookie point guard. Price hasn't just given Watson a breather; the two have been on the court together a significant amount of time as the Pacers look to push the ball with a small lineup.

Such job security has allowed Price, who many felt would be stuck between guard positions in the NBA, to flash his scoring ability without having to handle too much offensive responsibility.

There is no end in sight for Ford's banishment, which leaves the door open for Price to continue to contribute substantially as a second-round pick that almost saw his career end two years ago when his ACL popped.

http://pacers.realgm.com/articles/185/20100125/cashing_in_on_a_flyer/
Real GM
By Andrew Perna

BillS
01-26-2010, 12:24 PM
Not even the most clairvoyant of scribes could have predicted that Earl Watson would be the starting point guard of the Indiana Pacers over T.J. Ford at this point in the season.

Funny, I'd almost say a majority of this forum predicted that very thing...

MillerTime
01-26-2010, 12:35 PM
Funny, I'd almost say a majority of this forum predicted that very thing...

I agree!

Sookie
01-26-2010, 12:45 PM
Price, who many felt would be stuck between guard positions in the NBA, to flash his scoring ability without having to handle too much offensive responsibility.

See, this type of stuff makes me not trust scouts. Reading reviews on him and others, I could see plenty of times where they were dead wrong. Although he hasn't had good passing games the past two games, he clearly is a point guard. And he clearly was at Uconn. Just because, when asked *and begged to shoot* he was a very capable shooting guard, because he had to be for his team to be successful, it doesn't mean he'd be stuck "between each position"

But that doesn't concern me..this concern's me.

"I try to learn as much as possible from the guards, Earl [Watson] and T.J. [Ford], guys who have played at a high level,” Price told RealGM. “So, anything I can pick up from them, I try to.”

In general..that's a smart thing for a Rookie to do..however..please please please..pick up more from Earl and less from T.J. :P

Unclebuck
01-26-2010, 01:57 PM
Yeah a lot of us predicted that Watson would be the starter at some point this season. Really though, it doesn't take a genius to predict that, afterall Ford has been replaced at the starter in each of the past 3 seasons now.

Anthem
01-26-2010, 02:02 PM
Did a lot of us predict that? Really? Early on, I felt very alone in my prediction.

McKeyFan
01-26-2010, 02:09 PM
Did a lot of us predict that? Really? Early on, I felt very alone in my prediction.

I think there was a lot of people who at least believed he OUGHT to be replaced. Not so sure how many believed JOB would do it.

Anthem
01-26-2010, 02:38 PM
I think there was a lot of people who at least believed he OUGHT to be replaced. Not so sure how many believed JOB would do it.
My first words on the board, minutes after hearing of his signing, were "He'll be starting by Christmas."

Roaming Gnome
01-26-2010, 02:47 PM
Yeah, I stopped reading after the first sentence. Typical Andrew Perna "fluff" stuff. Sad thing is... as most of you pointed out, Perna's assertion was just WRONG! Most on here figured it was certain that Watson would be the starter by Christmas.

JBones19
01-26-2010, 03:29 PM
At the "breakfast with the coach" event I attended at the beginning of the year JOB said something to the effect of "Watson will be our PG." Whether it was a freudian slip we may never know...

90'sNBARocked
01-26-2010, 03:31 PM
At the "breakfast with the coach" event I attended at the beginning of the year JOB said something to the effect of "Watson will be our PG." Whether it was a freudian slip we may never know...

I rememebr Granger talking after the season and mentioning (last year) that he was working "with our PG Jack" not Ford

thoought that was also a slip too

LG33
01-26-2010, 03:33 PM
Of course, those early season threads have been expunged from the records, but I was definitely one of the people who thought Watson would start more games than T.J. (I said as much in the "Bold" Predictions thread that has vanished). Admittedly, I was thinking about injury as much as poor performance though. Either way, any Pacers story is better than no Pacers story, that is, unless it begins with the Police Blotter.

McKeyFan
01-27-2010, 07:45 PM
My first words on the board, minutes after hearing of his signing, were "He'll be starting by Christmas."

Oh, I remember your prediction. I'm not sure how many others were predicting it, though. But I think there were a couple.