AJ Price in 2012-13 with the Wizards: A Perfectly Imperfect Solution | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

AJ Price in 2012-13 with the Wizards: A Perfectly Imperfect Solution

Updated: May 18, 2013

[Wizards 2012-13 Player Reviews from the TAI crew are going down; let’s reflect—index so far:
Jannero PargoJason CollinsShaun LivingstonShelvin MackCartier MartinEarl Barron,
Jan VeselyChris SingletonTrevor BookerGarrett TempleEmeka OkaforTrevor Ariza,
Martell WebsterA.J. PriceJordan CrawfordKevin SeraphinBradley BealNeneJohn Wall.]

AJ Price 2012-13 Washington Wizards Player Review

A.J. Price

6-2 : Height
181 lbs. : Weight
26 : Age
4 : Years NBA Experience
2 : NBA Teams

Signed by the Wizards as a free agent for the one-year minimum on July 23, 2012.

Time as a Wizard in 2012-13

57 : Games
22 : Starts
1,278 : Minutes

1.47 out of 3 stars

Average Truth About It.net DC Council Game Rating
{Price evaluated over 19 games} 

12.4 PER

NBA historical PER contribution equivalent:
maybe Jon Barry for the 2000-01 Sacramento Kings (12.4)
maybe Jeff McInnis for the 2004-05 Cleveland Cavaliers (12.4),
maybe Kevin Porter for the 1972-73 Baltimore Bullets (12.4)

.084 Win Shares/48 Minutes

NBA historical WS/48 contribution equivalent:
maybe Jameer Nelson for the 2006-07 Orlando Magic (.082),
maybe Travis Best for the 2004-05 New Jersey Nets (.084),
maybe Derek Fisher for the 2006-07 Utah Jazz (.083)

With A.J. Price on the Court…

The Wizards offense scored 0.4 points less per 100 possessions (OffRtg)
The Wizards defense allowed 1.0 point less per 100 possessions (DefRtg)
Plus/Minus per 48 minutes: minus-2.4

Numbers : Per 36 Minutes

12.4 : Points
3.2 : Rebounds
0.1 : Blocks
0.9 : Steals
5.8 : Assists
1.8 : Turnovers
2.1 : Fouls

0.86 PPP

Price had 501 offensive possessions with the Wizards that ended with a FGA, TO or FTs, and he scored 0.86 Points Per Possession (PPP) on those, ranked 298th in the NBA (via Synergy Sports Technology). Defensively, he allowed 0.83 PPP over 477 possessions, ranked 108th.


39% Field Goals (161-413)
35% 3-Pointers (70-200)
79% Free Throws (49-62)

[stats via NBA.com/stats and Basketball-Reference.com]


A.J. Price in 2012-13 with the Wizards:

A Perfectly Imperfect Solution

by Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

A.J. Price was imperfectly perfect … Bare with me.

Ideally, Price is the right point guard behind John Wall. Well, wait a minute. Who, or what, is the ideal type of player playing behind Wall?

That player can keep the pace up, run with the other guys added to the team with Wall in mind, but knows how to maneuver in the half court. He can knock down long-distance shots to keep the floor open (especially if he has to play next to Wall). He’s not going to kill you on defense, in fact, he should be a net-positive on D, even if minor. He can keep the ball moving, and he’s not going to cause a coach to fret with carelessness.

There are, as always, a couple catches: Wall’s backup likely won’t play many minutes, at least as long as Wall and Bradley Beal are healthy. That said, the Crash Brothers might not always be healthy (unless they tone down the physical gambles on the court). The other catch: this player must cheap.

Sounds like the perfect backup PG for a lot of teams. So where does Price fit in?

The Wizards got their money’s worth, that’s for sure. Price came at the very affordable rate of the veteran’s minimum, $854,389 for a single season of basketball. His numbers this past season, his fourth in the NBA at age 26, compare very closely to the numbers Steve Blake put up in his fifth NBA season with the Portland Trail Blazers at age 27. That season, 2007-08, was the first of a three-year, $12-plus million contract for Blake—not sure Price is worth that kind of money now, as it’s a different market.

Still, this season was the best of Price’s career, and he was a strong part of the Washington’s locker room culture, often serving as the pre-game and sideline hype-man, constantly trying to uplift his teammates (and providing them with phrases like ‘Watergate‘). Price probably wants constancy (so, not a third NBA team in year five), but the man from Amityville, NY, also wants to get paid.

Ernie Grunfeld’s got some decisions to make. The blind horse headed to the water is led by the fact that the Wizards need John Wall injury insurance. The team’s woes without Wall this past season do not solely rest on his backup, Price, but there were times where Price could have done better, especially with his shot selection.

Price’s season in D.C.  had three acts.

Act 1: He started 15 of the season’s first 17 games and the Wizards went 2-15. Shaun Livingston was an attempt to change things up with starts in games 9 and 10. The Wizards struggled as a team, and it’s hard to put that on any one player. The reality is that they all fought hard but couldn’t get over a mental hump. Eight of the losses in Washington’s 0-12 start were by seven points or less; two losses came in overtime and one in double overtime—the Wizards were the most competitive 0-12 team ever.

Against the Golden State Warriors in game 17, Price broke his hand, compounding team problems. He missed just under four weeks and 15 games, during which the Wizards went 2-13.

Price Act 1: 17 games, 27.8 minutes

8.5 points, 36.6% FG, 34.2% 3P, 4.9 assists, 1.5 turnovers, 2.8 rebounds

45.5 eFG%, 30.4 AST%, 3.36 AST/TO, 93.38 Pace

Act 2: In Price’s return game, the Wizards upset the Oklahoma City Thunder at home. John Wall came back the next game and a lot of things changed. The Wizards improved, going 16-14 over Price’s 30-game Act 2 stretch (he missed one game with a bruised quad, a loss to the Knicks). Price’s numbers stayed relatively the same, but the Wizards were plus-6.9 per 48 minutes when Price was paired with Bradley Beal; Beal and Wall were plus-7.3 together. Price and Wall were paired together for 41 minutes during Act 2 and the Wizards finished plus-4.6 points per 48 minutes during this time.

Then Price injured his groin and missed two weeks and nine games.

Price Act 2: 29 games, 19.4 minutes

6.2 points, 38.9% FG, 32.9% 3P, 3.4 assists, 1.0 turnovers, 1.8 rebounds

46.3 eFG%, 28.2 AST%, 3.27 AST/TO, 92.70 Pace

Act 3: With Bradley Beal out, the focus of Price’s game changed when he returned from his groin injury. As the numbers reflect, he had to put up more points. The Wizards were desperate for scoring, and Price filled in nicely, making 1.6 3-pointers per game and shooting 40 percent from that range. The downside is that the Wizards lost interest in their goal (the chase to finish ninth in the East), played the more inexperienced players, and closed out the season 3-8. (Also, Beal is a really, really valuable player.)

Price Act 3: 11 games, 22.3 minutes

10.5 points, 43.0% FG, 40.0% 3P, 2.1 assists, 0.8 turnovers, 1.4 rebounds

52.7 eFG%, 18.0 AST%, 2.56 AST/TO, 92.72 Pace

Over Price’s 111 total minutes (across 11 games over the entire season) playing alongside Beal, Martell Webster, Nene and Emeka Okafor, the Wizards shot 49.5 percent from the field, averaged 102.9 points per 48 minutes, and finished a total plus-41.

Price played well with both Wall and Beal, so he could be a positive near-term solution, but he’s clearly not the only answer. (And as Jordan Crawford apparently guided himself out of the question.) So Grunfeld needs two answers at guard: Wall’s primary backup and a combo off the bench. Actually, he needs several.

The Wizards have nine players under contract for next season, and only three of them are guards or wings—Wall, Beal and Trevor Ariza (Chris Singleton doesn’t count as a ‘wing’ on offense). Re-signing Webster is the obvious priority, but then the lingering question becomes if Price is worth a contract along the lines of the bi-annual exception—two years and $4 million. And then what does Grunfeld next do to get much-needed scoring? Or does he simply let Garrett Temple, Shelvin Mack and Tomas Satoransky battle it out in training camp?

Price wasn’t perfect, but he’s probably as close to what the Wizards need … within reason. He’s not a finisher, but at 6-foot-2, that’s understood. Price provides a change of pace from Wall, i.e., he’s slower (the Wizards averaged about 3.5 possessions less per 48 minutes with Price on the court instead of Wall), but that doesn’t mean speed and pushing the ball aren’t part of his game. An essential part is Price’s overall contribution to 3-point shooting (though he doesn’t shoot it particularly well from anywhere). Perfectly imperfect.

Price gets this writer’s endorsement, but the Wizards need a lot more than that.

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.