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Frankel’s 2013-14 projections
At 30 years old and playing for his fifth team in nine years, Ronnie Price finally finds himself with an opportunity. Long and classically cast as a team’s seldom-used third point guard, several factors — the most important of which is completely outside his control — will determine his on-court role with the Magic.
But unless coaching and personnel decisions go unexpectedly and wildly awry, Price seems destined to play the bit part he’s come to know so well at this point in his career.
Blessed with rare explosiveness and long arms, Price has always looked like an NBA point guard. He has good size, quick feet, and is still capable of the thunderous and acrobatic dunks for which he’s mostly known. But Price’s sustained play has never aligned with the flashes of his great physical gifts, and that might especially be the case today.
His mind-bogglingly low .402 True Shooting percentage last season was the second-lowest among all players that played at least 500 minutes, and his 20.7 turnover percentage is far too high for a player who had a 14.8 percent usage rate.
Though he again ranked among the league’s best in steal percentage and is certainly an net-plus defensively, Price was still no more effective last season than replacement-level at best. His 6.8 PER speaks to that as much as anything else.
While it sounds counter-intuitive, none of that means he can’t help the Magic this season — his presence will just (hopefully) be felt more off the court than on it. And that’s by design, given that general manager Rob Hennigan has made it a point of emphasis to surround Orlando’s young core with high-character veterans like Price.
Victor Oladipo is this franchise’s best hope for the present and future, and fostering his overall development should be of utmost importance. Price will help in that regard, as he’s a consummate professional that’s lauded for his work ethic.
And should Oladipo struggle enough on the ball to be played exclusively off of it for most of the season, Price seems like a perfect back-up point guard option for Orlando’s current state of roster reconstruction: a stop-gap whose blanket positive impact will be gleaned in the locker room. While’s that’s a sobering thought for the team’s prospects this season, it’s a necessary reality to ensure future success.