David Thorpe Calls AJ Price a "Draft Night Steal"

We’ll be taking an extended look at AJ Price shortly here on 8p9s, but I just wanted to share some thoughts that ESPN rookie expert David Thorpe had in his latest Rookie Watch column on the former Husky PG.

Looks like he is among the many — which includes myself and Jim O’Brien — who have really liked what they’ve seen from the kid of late.

DeJuan Blair, Omri Casspi, Jonas Jerebko, Taj Gibson, Chase Budinger, Marcus Thornton and Brandon Jennings have all been labeled draft night steals this season. Add Price to the list.

The second-rounder is one of just six rookies with a player efficiency rating of 15 or better. I watched Price play in person recently and was impressed by how he is balancing his instincts as a scorer with his job of running the team. To wit, he ranks eighth in assist rate among rookies, ahead of similar score-first guards such as Jonny Flynn and Tyreke Evans. Better yet, Price has the lowest turnover rate of any rookie point guard. That combination, plus some solid scoring games, has earned him huge rotations minutes; he’s averaging 20-plus minutes per game and 10 points per game in January. This after appearing in just 12 games and averaging just eight minutes per game in 2009.

It’s looking more and more like you made quite the pick, Larry Legend.

Here’s a great video piece on AJ that has one of those stupid “embedding is disabled by request” YouTube restrictions. Thus, looks like it’s a double-feature along with this other one below that shows some highlights from one of his best NCAA games. Enjoy.

What do you think about AJ? Can he be a long-term answer at PG for Indiana or is he just going to always be a good backup?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQ9nIHfX4N4&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

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