Price worked hard on defense and provided a positive locker room presence.

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 adieu, 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.

Season Age Tm Lg G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2005-06 22 SAC NBA 29 0 5.2 0.7 2.0 .362 0.2 0.9 .222 0.4 0.4 1.000 0.2 0.3 0.5 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.3 0.3 2.1
2006-07 23 SAC NBA 58 1 9.7 1.2 3.0 .390 0.4 1.1 .323 0.6 0.9 .673 0.3 1.0 1.2 0.8 0.5 0.1 0.6 1.1 3.3
2007-08 24 UTA NBA 61 3 9.6 1.4 3.3 .431 0.4 1.2 .347 0.4 0.6 .684 0.1 0.6 0.8 1.3 0.5 0.0 0.5 1.4 3.7
2008-09 25 UTA NBA 52 17 14.2 1.5 3.9 .379 0.4 1.2 .311 0.7 0.9 .756 0.2 1.1 1.3 2.1 0.8 0.1 1.2 1.4 4.0
2009-10 26 UTA NBA 60 4 13.4 1.6 4.0 .405 0.3 1.1 .286 0.7 1.0 .695 0.5 0.8 1.2 2.1 0.7 0.2 0.9 1.8 4.3
2010-11 27 UTA NBA 59 0 12.2 1.3 3.6 .352 0.3 1.2 .290 0.5 0.7 .744 0.4 0.7 1.0 0.9 0.7 0.1 0.9 1.8 3.3
2011-12 28 PHO NBA 36 8 14.4 1.4 3.6 .377 0.4 1.2 .295 0.6 0.7 .800 0.5 1.1 1.6 1.9 0.9 0.1 1.3 2.0 3.6
Career NBA 355 33 11.5 1.3 3.4 .389 0.3 1.1 .304 0.6 0.8 .729 0.3 0.8 1.1 1.4 0.6 0.1 0.8 1.5 3.6
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/17/2012.

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!


Mar. 18, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Sebastian Telfair (31) handles the ball against the Houston Rockets guard Courtney Fortson (9) during the second half at the US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Rockets 99-86. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE.

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 adieu, we present you with the Phoenix Suns Season in Review, 2011-12.

Up for discussion today is Sebastian Telfair.

Let's get this out of the way - I'm giving Sebastian Telfair an A for his final season grade.

Now before you all jump on me in the comments about how ridiculous and out-of-touch I am - let me remind you of my logic. My grading criteria are based on expectations and season performance, plain and simple. Once again Sebastian Telfair is a player on this year's Phoenix Suns team who played above and beyond his expectations during the most critical times of the season. I'm pretty sure when you do that in school you get an A.

I'm not comparing Telfair to Steve Nash or LeBron James - I'm grading Bassy for who Bassy is. Now understanding that - bring the beef in the comments... my body is ready.

My_body_is_ready_medium

Now if you want to see how big trophies, Jay-Z, old poetry and the energizer bunny all relate to Telfair, take the jump and enjoy the ride.

Describing Sebastian Telfair's personality this year brings to vivid imagination the lyrics of this famous poem. If you've never heard it (or at least heard of it) I strongly suggest staying in school.

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

"Invictus" - William Ernest Henley

But maybe more appropriately, so also do the lyrics of this timeless classic,

...

Ball so hard, this shit weird

We ain't even s'pose to be here,

Ball so hard, since we here

It's only right that we be fair

Psycho, I'm liable to go Michael

Take your pick, Jackson, Tyson, Jordan, Game 6

...

That shit cray

"Paris" - Jay-Z

Let that work the palate for a second.

EXPECTATIONS

What expectations did we have for Telfair when he arrived in Phoenix before the start of the season?

This was his sixth different team in just as many years.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think they were, try to beat out Zabian Dowdell for the back-up position. Re-read that. As the tides of life provide and retract, a knee injury to Dowdell gave Sebastian a chance - but then came Ronnie Price and yet more challenge was given to Telfair to even have an opportunity to perform here in Phoenix.

He was the 3rd string Point Guard. You tell me what the expectations are for a 3rd string point guard.

He was indeed in the clutches of circumstance - and it was his unconquerable soul that pushed Bassy to stay upbeat and evolve his game during the course of the season.

SLOW START

Like the majority of this Phoenix Suns team, Telfair struggled to open the season in form - something you expect from a 3rd string point guard on a new team, learning a new system, receiving inconsistent minutes, in a shortened lock-out season, oh and not to mention playing behind Steve Nash.

He jockeyed early in the season with Price as Alvin Gentry experimented with line-ups, sometimes he played 6 minutes - other nights 23 minutes, then back to 7 minutes and so on. Despite struggling to find offensive cohesion and offensive consistency on his new team in his opportunities, Telfair was absolutely consistent in one thing from the start. He played with fearless abandon on defense and never gave up.

It didn't matter if the team was being blown out and the final seconds of the game clock were being dribbled away by a smug opposing team - Bassy was still playing as if the game was on the line. When he was on the bench - it was visibly noticeable as a spectator that he was also consistently vocal and impassioned by the game. His heart was in the right place and Alvin Gentry and his coaching staff took note.

WHEN IT COUNTS

The back-up job was solidified for Telfair just before the All-star break and with the consistent minutes and now a known and familiar role Sebastian seized the opportunity and ran with it.

Give Mike Schwartz over at VotS the credit for this little tidbit I came across -

Through April 1, Bassy ranked dead last on the Suns by producing a -0.083 WP48. During the team's final 14 games Telfair shot all the way up to first on the entire team with a 0.212 WP48 that was percentage points ahead of Steve Nash himself!

Telfair took his opportunity and his game and elevated to another level. He nearly single-handedly took control of the weakness that was our second unit and made it one of our strengths with this defensive intensity and improved offensive play. He got under the opposition's skin and his energizer-bunny-like tenacity was contagious for his teammates.

I have a fun exercise for you - take the time to go up to the search bar here at Bright Side of the Sun and type in "Sebastian Telfair" or "Bassy" and just read through the plethora of recaps and posts written as a testament to the contributions he made to this team as they pushed to fight for a playoff spot at season's end.

Without Telfair - the Suns would have no way been in any type of position to compete for that 8th spot.

HUSTLE

I remember the game that Alvin put Telfair on Chris Paul in the final seconds of a tightly contested and important game against the Clippers - and Sebastian had proven through the course of the season that what Gentry did was the right move. I had no objection; in fact it made me smile because I believe it was the move that we all had been hoping would be made. Telfair's hustle and effort were unmatched by anyone on the team this year and that's why he was this year's Dan Majerle Hustle Award recipient.

Telfair_hustle_300x350_2_medium

via www.nba.com

Did anybody guess that at the beginning of the season? No. Telfair went above and beyond his expectations and elevated his team because of it this year, he was the master of his fate and I believe he's earned himself a spot on the 2012-12 Phoenix Suns roster. For 1.5 Mili and some change? I have zero issues with that.

I hope to see Bassy in a Suns uniform again next year.


PHOENIX — For three months, the Phoenix Suns received the same kind of abysmal backup point guard play they have become accustomed to throughout the Steve Nash era, save for a Dragon sighting...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
PHOENIX — For three months, the Phoenix Suns received the same kind of abysmal backup point guard play they have become accustomed to throughout the Steve Nash era, save for a Dragon sighting...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
Expect to see this again, just maybe for fewer minutes.

Grant Hill represents everything the Phoenix Suns stand for. Or at least, what they want to represent on and off the basketball court.

He is classy, team-oriented, and willing to do whatever it takes to improve the team's chances of winning. Somehow, he has transmorgrified himself into a defensive stopper of sorts in the late stages of his career as a way to keep himself relevant despite an inability to consistently make open 3-point jump shots - a staple of the Nash-led Phoenix Suns.

In his postseason "Lunch with Lon" press conference last month, the Suns' head personnel honcho Lon Babby gave a strong indication that Grant Hill will be back with the Suns if he decides he's healthy enough to continue playing.

"I don't want to speak for him, but I can't imagine he'd want to play anywhere else ... I would be extremely disappointed if he played somewhere else."

Coming off two knee surgeries in the last 9 months and carrying the mantle of the second-oldest player in the NBA (40 years old next season), Grant Hill will not be breaking any banks this summer. Truly, he will just have to decide how big a role he wants to play in the NBA next season.

Speaking (earlier) of Steve Nash, the two of them have developed a kinship with the Suns that transcends the 48 minutes between whistles that all 14 players face. They were unrestricted free agents together in the summer of 2009, facing the prospect of continuing their Suns careers as the Wondertwins versus parting ways to "chase a ring" with another NBA franchise. In the end, they chose to return to the Suns and in retrospect it appears to have been a foregone conclusion.

Now three seasons, three trade deadlines and one lone playoff run later, they face free agency again. Once again, they have the option to return to the Suns as now-really-aging Wondertwins versus parting ways to chase a ring as a role player. Shawn Marion and Eddie House have done this, winning rings despite playing fewer minutes after leaving Phoenix. Boris Diaw might just do it this year as well.

But this time, neither player is as valuable to any other NBA franchise as they are to the Phoenix Suns. Neither is the top free agent at their position, and neither will garner a long-term, high-paying deal due to their age and injury history. Contenders will try to entice Nash with midlevel exception offers ($3-5 million) and Hill with bi-annual exception offers ($2 million). Only Dallas has the unique combination of money and contender possibilities this summer, but their top target is Deron Williams.

Alas, their choice in the sunset of their careers will come down to money/playing time/Wondertwin status on a might-be team versus peanuts/backup minutes/"role player" status on a winner.

Grant Hill, especially, is going to have to chose between a low-paying backup job on a contender versus a well-paid player-coach type of job with the transitioning Suns. He simply did not have a good statistical season in 2011-12 - offensively OR defensively. Despite our eyes and intuition that Grant Hill is a lockdown defender, his defensive numbers did not bear that out. Likely, that's because he always guarded the opponent's best offensive player. But still, "lockdown" is a relative term compared to the rest of the Suns players.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2011 - Grant Hill 49 28.1 4.1 9.2 44.6 0.3 1.1 26.4 1.7 2.2 76.1 0.6 2.9 3.5 2.2 1.3 0.8 0.6 1.8 10.2


Add on the two knee surgeries as bookends to the season, and no other NBA team can possibly feel confident about offering Hill more than the bi-annual exception he signed to join the Suns 5 years (and two contracts) ago.

Lon Babby, for one, feels confident about Grant Hill's decision. And Lon should know, since he was Hill's agent for his entire career before taking over the Suns.

Babby will overpay Hill for his contributions beyond the court as much as what a 40-year old can offer on it. The only real question is whether Hill will retire or not. But even then, he's likely to stay with the Suns in a front-office or coaching capacity. That's my gut feel.

In fact, possibly the best summer option is to bring back Grant Hill to tutor the next swingman-lockdown-defender-team-builder guy the Suns add to the team this summer either through the draft (Jeremy Lamb) or free agency (Nic Batum). Then Grant could truly hand off his cape as he fades into the valley sunset.


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