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View Full Version : Though not full strength, Price Pacers' best player thus far



90'sNBARocked
10-11-2010, 07:57 PM
http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/web_101011.html
by Conrad Brunner



You watch him work into the lane, finding the seams and spaces, and you see him float the effortless jump shot with perfect form and balance, and you have to wonder:

If this is 85 percent, I can't wait to see what A.J. Price will be like when he's all the way back.

That he's on the court at all speaks volumes of Price's dedication to rehab after a freak knee injury in a charity game in May. Price fractured his patella, an injury that required surgery and had a projected recovery time of four to six months.

Price made sure the short end of the projection would stick and was on the court for the opening of training camp. And he's proven to be a tough guy to take off the court.

"A.J. has been our best player in the first three games across the board," said Coach Jim O'Brien. "It's very impressive and he never has a bad practice."

The team's second-leading scorer in the preseason, Price has averaged 13.7 points on 11-of-21 (.524) shooting overall, including 5-of-10 from the 3-point line. He has produced those numbers in just 15.3 minutes per game.

"I wouldn't say I'm 100 percent yet. I'm getting there," Price said. "I'm still about 85 percent, in my eyes. I'm still working to get myself there. I'm just playing confidently right now and that's the most important thing."

After a solid rookie season (averaging 7.3 points in 56 games) playing both guard spots, the 2009 second-round pick from Connecticut headed into the offseason with a non-guaranteed contract. Then came the knee injury, then the acquisition of combo guard prospect Lance Stephenson in the draft, followed by the trade that brought starting point guard Darren Collison from New Orleans.

Each move seemed to push Price further down the depth chart.

But Price pushed himself to recover more quickly than expected and now finds himself pushing for a bigger role. He's the only reserve to have scored in double figures in all three preseason games. With Ford battling a hamstring strain and Stephenson struggling to pick up the defense, Price has been Collison's primary backup at the point.

"If that were to continue throughout the season, you bet you'd find more minutes, there's no doubt," said O'Brien. "If the guy's your best player, you'd better believe you'll find more minutes."

Makes you wonder what'll happen when he returns to full strength.

"I think he's a heck of a player," O'Brien said. "I know what he's going to be when he gets to 100 percent because not only does he do it in practice he does it consistently in games. He is a very, very valuable piece."


Not saying he will or he wont but I think it will be interesting to see if O'Brien will keep his word if Price plays well.

I actually think he will. I think Jim likes Price a lot

BlueNGold
10-11-2010, 08:17 PM
Small ball? Collison & Price?

Sookie
10-11-2010, 08:28 PM
Small ball? Collison & Price?

Well, that beats the heck out of TJ and Earl.

in some ways, it's not that bad of an idea. He's a better defender at the two than Lance or Dun. And a better offensive player than George (for now), DJones, and Rush.

On the other side...They are both so small. And I don't really wanna see anyone other than those two playing the PG position..so if they're going to put AJ at the two sometimes..you can't do it all the time because him and Darren are going to need a break at some point.

pwee31
10-11-2010, 08:28 PM
I like A.J and I'm happy he's recovering well, but the fact that he has been the best player on our team thus far is very worrisome to me.

It's the preseason so I'll give it time, but I'm hoping we look A LOT better against the Twolves Wednesday

CT Pacer
10-11-2010, 08:31 PM
I thought Josh was our best player? :box:

OakMoses
10-11-2010, 08:55 PM
I thought Josh was our best player? :box:

Josh was the best player in training camp, but he's only played in 1.5 preseason games. Price has been the best player in games.

BRushWithDeath
10-11-2010, 09:26 PM
Josh was the best player in training camp, but he's only played in 1.5 preseason games. Price has been the best player in games.

Josh was the best player in that game and a half.

But Price has been good in all three. No other player can make that claim.

Naptown_Seth
10-11-2010, 11:15 PM
Well, that beats the heck out of TJ and Earl.

in some ways, it's not that bad of an idea. He's a better defender at the two than Lance or Dun. And a better offensive player than George (for now), DJones, and Rush.

On the other side...They are both so small. And I don't really wanna see anyone other than those two playing the PG position..so if they're going to put AJ at the two sometimes..you can't do it all the time because him and Darren are going to need a break at some point.
Last year he was used at the 2 or got switched onto 2s and they would just shoot over or post him up.

Honestly I'm just ready for him to get a solid 20 as the backup PG which is what should have happened last year.

As for the quote that's not a good sign. The last time JOB said something so positive about AJ he was headed back to the deep bench. That's not even sarcasm.

Sookie
10-11-2010, 11:29 PM
Last year he was used at the 2 or got switched onto 2s and they would just shoot over or post him up.

Honestly I'm just ready for him to get a solid 20 as the backup PG which is what should have happened last year.

As for the quote that's not a good sign. The last time JOB said something so positive about AJ he was headed back to the deep bench. That's not even sarcasm.

It depends on the 2 guard I think. And once again, his defense isn't worse than Dun's. (because even though they shoot over him, at least he's there to put a hand in their face :laugh:)

I think, if AJ continues to play the way he has..JOB couldn't put him on the bench. It'd just be...beyond stupid. But I agree, the statements make me a bit nervous..;)

I'm not really an advocate of AJ at the 2, but I just know JOB's tendencies, and I think if we're going to play two PGs, one of them needs to be AJ. Just because of the skills of the other two (or three if you include Lance)

xtacy
10-12-2010, 04:44 AM
I like A.J and I'm happy he's recovering well, but the fact that he has been the best player on our team thus far is very worrisome to me.

same here.

Trophy
10-12-2010, 07:56 AM
He's gonna/would make a great backup for Darren this season. Although Darren will be getting a ton of minutes.

AJ's 3-point shooting is always dead on. It seems like he's always making everyone he takes.

Trader Joe
10-12-2010, 08:54 AM
Right now, I'd run Collison about 32 minutes at point. AJ gets the other 16. Then if you have a team that is sagging off of us, use AJ as a zone busting 2 along with a lineup of say Rush, Granger, Hibbert for 4 or 5 minutes a game.

Sookie
10-12-2010, 12:59 PM
Right now, I'd run Collison about 32 minutes at point. AJ gets the other 16. Then if you have a team that is sagging off of us, use AJ as a zone busting 2 along with a lineup of say Rush, Granger, Hibbert for 4 or 5 minutes a game.

They're both young, I'd give whichever PG that's playing better that game more. You have to develope them both, and that'll encourage them to compete with each other (and play better) as a result.

With the core of this team, (the young guys) I don't think we can assign players specific minutes per player. For example, JOB suggested he'd play Josh 36 minutes a game. Well what if Tyler's outplaying him in a game? Are we still going to stick with the stubborn restrictions? I'd hope not.

Part of being young means that players are going to be inconsistent. And the lineups need to adjust to that, as a result.

PaceBalls
10-12-2010, 01:08 PM
I think it's ridiculous that DC is handed the starting job... just because of the trade, potential and expectations. Right now, Price knows "the system" better, he knows his teammates better and is playing better.

I think they should start the season with Price as starter and let it be known that how well you play determines who starts.

Trader Joe
10-12-2010, 02:40 PM
Price has really only scored more than Collison...I don't think he's flat out "out played" him as a lot of people are suggesting. Especially the whole, "Price knows the system better" or "looks for his teammates more" I don't mean this against AJ, but that's just flat out not true. Price is looking for his shot more than any other player on the team right now.

Pacers4Life
10-12-2010, 03:44 PM
Price has really only scored more than Collison...I don't think he's flat out "out played" him as a lot of people are suggesting. Especially the whole, "Price knows the system better" or "looks for his teammates more" I don't mean this against AJ, but that's just flat out not true. Price is looking for his shot more than any other player on the team right now.

^^ That is a fact. First preseason game... Price tries (and failed) to get something going to the hole... time expires. 2nd game... I can't remember what went down exactly... but we were coming off that tip (air) ball and I think it was a Price 3 Ball.. which he missed. Idk what im saying, trying to reiterate Joes point. Price is a score first PG and quite frankly I've had it with that for a whille (unless its D Rose or Deron Williams). I like AJ a lot and I hope he finds a way to earn 15-25 mins a game... edit: just not as our STARTING point guard

NuffSaid
10-12-2010, 04:01 PM
I like A.J and I'm happy he's recovering well, but the fact that he has been the best player on our team thus far is very worrisome to me.

It's the preseason so I'll give it time, but I'm hoping we look A LOT better against the Twolves Wednesday

I 2nd this sentiment.

I think Price makes a very good Scoring Guard. My only problem with him is that he doesn't pass the ball enough. So, you have to pair him with players who don't need the ball in their hands and rely moreso on their scrappiness to be effective. Hence, the reason I'd rotate him in w/the 2nd-Unit:

Foster - C
Hansborough - PF
Dahntey - SF
Rush - SG
Price - PG

You have to make Price the primary scoring option with this bunch and I'd be just fine with it! But I wouldn't make him our starting PG. Not because I don't like him or his style of play. I've said it in other threads concerning the Pacers' preseason play to date: AJ Price has been the most efficient scorer this pre-season.

But you don't want a "shoot-first" PG when you're trying to enphasize having more motion and ballmovement in your starters.


Price has really only scored more than Collison...I don't think he's flat out "out played" him as a lot of people are suggesting. Especially the whole, "Price knows the system better" or "looks for his teammates more" I don't mean this against AJ, but that's just flat out not true. Price is looking for his shot more than any other player on the team right now.

I don't think that's what people are saying here. My concensus is AJ Price has been the most efficient scorer by far out of everyone on this Pacers squad so far in pre-season play. His assist numbers...that's another story.

Mackey_Rose
10-12-2010, 04:08 PM
Price has really only scored more than Collison...I don't think he's flat out "out played" him as a lot of people are suggesting. Especially the whole, "Price knows the system better" or "looks for his teammates more" I don't mean this against AJ, but that's just flat out not true. Price is looking for his shot more than any other player on the team right now.

Price may be getting his shots up, but he sees the court better than Collison.

Trader Joe
10-12-2010, 04:17 PM
Price may be getting his shots up, but he sees the court better than Collison.

I completely disagree, and I don't see where the evidence is to support this. Is he racking up assists? Creating a lot of free throw attempts? Not turning the ball over as much?

Price is a shoot first PG much more than Collison, even in college.

MLB007
10-12-2010, 04:22 PM
I think it's ridiculous that DC is handed the starting job... just because of the trade, potential and expectations. Right now, Price knows "the system" better, he knows his teammates better and is playing better.

I think they should start the season with Price as starter and let it be known that how well you play determines who starts.

No way anyone could know that AJ was going to make it back.
And even if he did you had to figure it would take him time to get his game back, not act like he hasn't missed a day!!
I am worried about him wearing it down by coming back so soon and going hard right away.
We'll see.

MLB007
10-12-2010, 04:23 PM
Price may be getting his shots up, but he sees the court better than Collison.

I haven't seen that at all.
I like AJ, but he's not the assist man DC is.

Sookie
10-12-2010, 04:24 PM
Price has really only scored more than Collison...I don't think he's flat out "out played" him as a lot of people are suggesting. Especially the whole, "Price knows the system better" or "looks for his teammates more" I don't mean this against AJ, but that's just flat out not true. Price is looking for his shot more than any other player on the team right now.

I think it is true. (That AJ gets the system better)

If O'brien is saying that AJ has been the best player for the Pacers. And AJ is playing the point guard position...doesn't it follow that AJ is doing exactly what Obrien wants at the PG position?

Not to mention, along with scoring better, Price has a better shooting percentage, has finished at the basket better, less turnovers, has gotten to the line more, and has played better defense.

Second, I would bet if you looked at passes per possession, AJ and Darren would be about the same. Once Per possession. There's just two differences.

1. AJ is playing, primarily with the bench. Guess who the best scorer off the bench is. (And by best, I mean only. Unless Dunleavy is coming off the bench.) So, yes, AJ gets rid of the ball, but in general, it's AJ who is going to inevitably have to take the shot. Collison on the other hand, has been able to play with the best scorers.

2. AJ gives up the ball sooner. This is what JOB wants. Almost every time down the court (that isn't a fast break) Collison holds onto it longer, which means players have a chance to move longer, which means Collison is able to make the pass that leads straight to the basket. If you'll notice, Price (and Collison, sometimes) does about the same thing every time. Brings the ball up the court, and passes to the PF who is standing at the corner of the free throw line, and then AJ runs to the corner. Eventually either PG will get it back and be forced to figure out how to score.

I don't think either one of the PGs should be judged on how many assists they get, because quite frankly, they're being used as midget shooting guards that bring the ball up the court. AJ would have never been considered a score first PG before being a part of this offense. (Collison would have, btw. People just like to say Collison passes more because of last season. When he was in an offense that allowed him to rack up the assists. Bottom line, he isn't any more. And quite frankly, he hasn't had that many assists either.) Collison's going to be looking for his shot a majority of the time too. That's just, this offense.

I'm not even advocating that AJ should start over Collison (right now. If AJ continues playing like he has, it'll be hard not to start him.) What I'm saying is, you can't judge PG's in this offense by passing, Price is just doing what's asked of him. And, yea, AJ has outplayed Collison. But I think Darren has played well, AJ has just been extremely good.

And I personally think, that instead of worrying about starters. I personally wouldn't change the lineup yet. That's just not fair to Darren. (To yank him after two months of learning the offense and telling him he's the starter. Perhaps he shouldn't have been given the spot without earning it first, but bottom line is he did. So I don't think we should change it just yet. Granted it's the preseason, so JOB might want to test out AJ with the starters for a game when it doesn't count.) We should worry about time and who plays well together. This is a young team, and they need to gell. Figure out who plays well together before the season starts, and make sure they get time together (and vice versa) And during games figure out which players are playing well and which ones aren't, and play them. You can't keep a structure on a young team if you're trying to win and develope players. (as in, Josh is going to get 35 minutes no matter what, and Tyler's going to get the remaining minutes...well..what if Tyler's outplaying Josh..)

pacers74
10-12-2010, 04:30 PM
I'm not going to judge anyone yet. I hope AJ plays well all season, but in March no one will talking about preseason. If OB let Collison play his game, he will be superior to any PG we have had in the last 5 years.

As for AJ I hope he come in and sparks our team of off the bench. I also, hope Lance improves enough to come in and play with AJ. Either one can bring the ball up and either one can score.

MLB007
10-12-2010, 05:09 PM
I think it is true. (That AJ gets the system better)

If O'brien is saying that AJ has been the best player for the Pacers. And AJ is playing the point guard position...doesn't it follow that AJ is doing exactly what Obrien wants at the PG position?

Not to mention, along with scoring better, Price has a better shooting percentage, has finished at the basket better, less turnovers, has gotten to the line more, and has played better defense.

Second, I would bet if you looked at passes per possession, AJ and Darren would be about the same. Once Per possession. There's just two differences.

1. AJ is playing, primarily with the bench. Guess who the best scorer off the bench is. (And by best, I mean only. Unless Dunleavy is coming off the bench.) So, yes, AJ gets rid of the ball, but in general, it's AJ who is going to inevitably have to take the shot. Collison on the other hand, has been able to play with the best scorers.

2. AJ gives up the ball sooner. This is what JOB wants. Almost every time down the court (that isn't a fast break) Collison holds onto it longer, which means players have a chance to move longer, which means Collison is able to make the pass that leads straight to the basket. If you'll notice, Price (and Collison, sometimes) does about the same thing every time. Brings the ball up the court, and passes to the PF who is standing at the corner of the free throw line, and then AJ runs to the corner. Eventually either PG will get it back and be forced to figure out how to score.

I don't think either one of the PGs should be judged on how many assists they get, because quite frankly, they're being used as midget shooting guards that bring the ball up the court. AJ would have never been considered a score first PG before being a part of this offense. (Collison would have, btw. People just like to say Collison passes more because of last season. When he was in an offense that allowed him to rack up the assists. Bottom line, he isn't any more. And quite frankly, he hasn't had that many assists either.) Collison's going to be looking for his shot a majority of the time too. That's just, this offense.

I'm not even advocating that AJ should start over Collison (right now. If AJ continues playing like he has, it'll be hard not to start him.) What I'm saying is, you can't judge PG's in this offense by passing, Price is just doing what's asked of him. And, yea, AJ has outplayed Collison. But I think Darren has played well, AJ has just been extremely good.

And I personally think, that instead of worrying about starters. I personally wouldn't change the lineup yet. That's just not fair to Darren. (To yank him after two months of learning the offense and telling him he's the starter. Perhaps he shouldn't have been given the spot without earning it first, but bottom line is he did. So I don't think we should change it just yet. Granted it's the preseason, so JOB might want to test out AJ with the starters for a game when it doesn't count.) We should worry about time and who plays well together. This is a young team, and they need to gell. Figure out who plays well together before the season starts, and make sure they get time together (and vice versa) And during games figure out which players are playing well and which ones aren't, and play them. You can't keep a structure on a young team if you're trying to win and develope players. (as in, Josh is going to get 35 minutes no matter what, and Tyler's going to get the remaining minutes...well..what if Tyler's outplaying Josh..)

C'mon guys, it's preseason.
And DC has had 7 assists in a game in about 20 minutes.
Much ado about nothing.

Sookie
10-12-2010, 05:17 PM
C'mon guys, it's preseason.
And DC has had 7 assists in a game in about 20 minutes.
Much ado about nothing.

Yea, which is why it's not worth changing at the moment :P But BTW: AJ has too.

But I do think Preseason is a time to experiment a little bit. And it doesn't really matter, as this truly isn't a DC vs AJ issue. It's JOB..if AJ continues to play well..he'll be played at the SG position. Which will be really cute when we have to play..say the Lakers..or..Miami..or any other team with a big dominant shooting guard.

Anthem
10-12-2010, 07:45 PM
I don't think the "AJ is just a scoring guard" thing is fair at all. Last year he was the best at running the offense. I think the scoring comes from the fact that he's been playing a lot of two and that he'sneeded to score in the units he's been playing with.