When Dee Brown wasn't re-signed, there were many fans that were upset. He wasn't the best PG in the world, but he brought hussle, a good work ethic, and great chemistry to the team. Everyone thought that he'd be competing for the backup PG spot with Fisher leaving. At worst, he would would be a serviceable third-stringer that knew the offense and could give Deron a breather for eight minutes a night. He's back in the states now .
He had a decent Rocky Mountain Revue, but didn't really wow anyone. So at the very least, we should have had a very competent and cheap backup. But apparently LHM didn't want Dee hanging around corrupting Deron. The blow came when the Jazz signed Jason Hart and Ronnie Price. Hart got 2 years/4.7 million (he just recently picked up his player option for the second year) while Price signed for 2 years/2.2 million.
And the Jazz fans groaned.
Out of the gate, the backup job was Hart's. He was a hard worker according to Sloan. Other hard workers on Sloan's list; his tractor, Matt Harpring, and the sun. From the get-go, nobody was impressed with Hart. And they weren't impressed with Price in the limited action he saw.
Hart drove everyone crazy with his poor shooting and his seemingly inability to get the offense going. But above all, Hart became known as 2-fer because he would often hoist crazy shots closing out the first quarter in a two-for-one situation. He seemed so eager just to get the shot off before the :36 second mark, that he would take the shot no matter where he was.
We has seen glimpses of what Price could do. And with Hart's struggles, fans were clamoring for Price to get his shot. He finally did when Hart was out with some back pains for about 6 games. He made the most of the opportunity by mkaing great hussle plays and some exciting dunks. He was did pretty well with the offense when he was at the reins. When Hart was ready to come back, Jazz fans groaned again.
And you can't fault Sloan for playing Hart again. Nobody should lose their job because of injury. But several games later it was clear that Hart just wasn't cutting it and Price moved into the backup PG role. And that's how it should be earned. But it took Hart getting injured for Sloan to realize this.
I started off this post talking about Dee Brown. The reason for that is because I think Price gave us exactly what Brown did and more. Their numbers aren't even close for their respective years in Utah ,
Granted, it was Dee's rookie year. He probably would have grown a bit with another year under his belt. But I think a lot of people forgot about Brown when Price took over. He's definitely an upgrade over Brown and definitely contributed to some Jazz wins. And the picture for this post personifies the contributions that Price made to the team this year.
No one is going to mistake either of them for Deron Williams, as far as backup PGs go, they're more than serviceable.
But I would gladly swap out Hart for Brown in a second.
Remember last year, how the speedster on the team was Dee Brown? Remember how he’d fly down the court and blow the lay-up at the end. Yeah… that’s not Price. Flying down the court, he can do. But he’s also able to finish with a strong jam… another thing that got the crowd going. Just something about Ronnie. And unlike Brown, he seems likely to stick around for next year (and beyond?). He was able to run up and down the court though, and that really showed up in one play (in particular) in the playoffs.