Here at Bright Side of the Sun we take the words TOTAL COVERAGE pretty dang seriously.
While our beloved Suns are off taking nice vacations, we are still slaving away, attempting to provide you all with first class Suns coverage.
So friends, without further ado, we present you with the Phoenix Suns Season in Review, 2011-12.
Up for discussion today is Ronnie Price.
How does one evaluate a third team point guard who earned the minimum salary, scored the second fewest points on the team and was the team's worst player by a boatload of other measures?
Ronnie Price was the least productive member of the Phoenix Suns this season, but that was expected given the road he's taken to the NBA. Price was offered no scholarships coming out of high school in Friendswood, Texas before playing at Nicholls State University and then Utah Valley State College.
The undersized underdog went undrafted by the NBA when he finished his college career, yet latched on with the Sacramento Kings, and then the Utah Jazz. He landed on the Suns this past December to replace Zabian Dowdell.
Price just concluded his seventh season playing with the best players in the world in the NBA; he's come this far on hard work and smarts. And while he may not have contributed much to the Suns on the court, he was another example of a positive locker room presence on a team full of them. For that, he deserves our respect. As for his performance on the court this season, well....read on.
It doesn't require much stat crunching to see that Price was an ineffective player, as his FG and 3-point %s were even lower than his career averages, and his career averages left him as a player for the Suns to pick up before the season as an insurance policy at the league minimum salary.
Still, Price beat out Sebastian Telfair for the job as Steve Nash's primary backup to start the season and even worked his way into the starting lineup for eight games. Remember that? Yeah, it really happened. The Suns went 2-6 with Price as a starter, he did little to distinguish himself, and generally only played in garbage time after the all-star break as the emergence of Telfair relegated him to the end of the bench.
A selfish player might have begrudged Telfair his success. After all, it did cost Price the opportunity for playing time and Price is a fringe NBA roster type who needs every opportunity he can get. But Price, in addition to helping Telfair improve by battling him hard in practice, was also one of Bassy's biggest supporters.
"I'm a competitor and so is Bassy, so when you have two competitive guys going against each other at the same position, every day, night in and night out, you're gonna have some clashes," said Price. "But at the end of the day, we have so much respect for one another that I can push him. I can say things to Sebastian that maybe someone else can't say. I can get on Bassy as a player getting on a friend. He's like a brother to me. So I think we learned from each other. The way he finished off this year was special."
***Price final day audio (I guarantee you'll like him more after listening to this.)***
I'll give two final grades for Ronnie Price. If we look at bottom line production without regard to expectations, role and salary, Price gets an F. While a feisty defender, he has no discernible point guard skills. He's a poor shooter and playmaker, both his stats and the eyeball test showed he wasn't much use to the Suns.
If we do takes those other factors into consideration, as well as his positive locker room presence, Price earned a C. For an end of the bench player who rarely played, he contributed in whatever way he could, and there was no downside to having him around. Put another way, he scored more than Josh Childress this season, at about 1/6 of the cost!