FanPost

In defense of Ronnie Price, the new third PG for the Phoenix Suns

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ronnie Price.

The mere mention of that name seems to work many Bright Siders into a lather. For some reason, he has become the Suns’ most electrified lightning rod this side of anyone named Morris.

But why?

After all, Price has been a solid veteran point guard for 10 years in the NBA, always finding a place on a team thanks to his effort and steady play. He owns a career assist-to-turnover ratio of nearly 2 to 1 and was better than 3 to 1 last season, which was better than all but nine point guards (including Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, and Goran Dragic).

He also averaged 2.5 steals per 36 minutes during the 2014-15 season, with only Tony Allen (2.8) and Kawhi Leonard (2.6) averaging more than Price of players who logged at least 900 minutes. (Stats via basketball-reference.com except via link)

Price is not a guy who will complain about his role, having started just 55 of his 468 career games and averaging 12.7 minutes in those games. He has never been a team cancer, never found himself in trouble. Heck, he even says all the right things.

Following the conclusion of the Los Angeles Lakers disaster of a season, Price was quoted in an article on latimes.com as saying: "It was a great year for me to have an opportunity to play for this organization. I enjoyed my teammates and Coach Scott and his staff. Overall it was a great experience."

Price even enjoyed being a "voice in the locker room" while with the young Lakers. That included sharing the knowledge he has acquired from some of the veterans who instilled lessons in him when he was younger.

"I would be selfish not to pass that on," Price said in the article.

So to recap, a veteran third-string point guard who doesn’t complain about his role, is a great team guy, and gives a steady hand on offense and hard-nosed defense when his name is called has earned the ire of many here on Bright Side of the Sun.

I don’t understand. Granted, Price has never been an offensive dynamo. His career averages of 3.6 points per game on 37.4 percent FG shooting (29.1 3FG%, 73.5 FT%) are somewhat cringeworthy, but considering he averages just 3.5 field goal attempts per game for his career, his offense won’t be much of a factor to begin with.

Perhaps some were hoping Archie Goodwin would be handed the point guard reins off the bench? Well, that’s a lot to ask of someone who has not shown great decision-making skills in his first two years, committing 92 turnovers to just 64 assists.

Maybe it’s that some were hoping for another point guard instead of Price? I’ve seen Ish Smith’s name bandied about in the comments sections, and he was a fan favorite during the 2013-14 season. But Smith and Price compare favorably statistically, so to categorically state one is better than another is quite the stretch.

price-smith-comp

Maybe Price wasn't the flashy signing everyone was hoping for, but he is not a bad signing, either. Nor is he a mistake.

He is a player who will provide another veteran voice on a team largely bereft of those before this summer.

He is a player who will challenge the younger players to improve during practice.

And he is a player who will provide gritty defense and reliable running of the offense when his name is called.

What is so bad about that?