Like the rest of the Pacers, second round pick AJ Price had an erratic sophomore season. Due to a knee injury he suffered during a charity game in New York before the commencement of the 2010-2011 season, Price missed the first few months and his numbers were down almost across the board — 50 games (all off the bench), 15.9 minutes, 6.5 points, 1.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.356 from the floor including 0.275 from three point range, and 0.667 from the line — and yet watching him, I could swear that Price has improved, even though his turnovers remained steady at 1.1 per game.
Price’s numbers are by no means impressive, but with Collison often struggling and the other option being TJ Ford, he was often called upon in the second half of the season to lead a young team. And all things considered, Price did an okay job. He is a scoring point and always will be, and not much of a passer, and probably never will be. He is what he is and a relative steal from the second round (52nd overall), plus importantly he displays the confidence of a lottery pick, evident from a few big shots he knocked down last season. But his role should not be the immediate back-up PG.
To be honest, Price is probably best used as a third-string point guard where he could thrive if the top two PGs are struggling or are injured. He wasn’t afforded that opportunity very often in his second year, but with the acquisition of George Hill, Price could very well end up in that role — if the Pacers don’t trade him.
If the Pacers keep him and he continues to get similar minutes, I expect Price to put up better numbers this season, provided he stayed in shape. This time he won’t be playing catch up like he did last year after the knee surgery, and with more experience and confidence under his belt, Price could be a very valuable guy to have on the bench, called upon from time to time to provide an offensive spark or relieve struggling or injured guards. For under $900,000 a year, Price is a bargain.