Late Monday night, Ronnie Price got word that he would be joining the Phoenix Suns. By 6:30 a.m. the next morning he was an airplane to Arizona. After taking his physical during the day, he was on the court with his new team for their evening practice session. Price was happy to be with his new team.
"I'm very thankful and fortunate that I have the opportunity to play for this organization and I'm looking forward to getting on the court and competing with these guys," Price said Tuesday evening.
After just one practice session, coach Alvin Gentry commented on the defensive intensity Price brings. He takes pride in his defense and enjoys checking both guard positions but what brought him to Phoenix over other options was the offensive style of play.
"This is a playing style that I've always wanted to be a part of. They really get up and down the floor and it's something that I wanted to do," Price said.
According to the newest Suns' point guard, every NBA player that can play the game should have a chance to make things happen in this offense.
Price will join Sebastian Telfair in a rotation behind Steve Nash. GM Lance Blanks explained how the two guards each bring something different to the floor:
"Bassy (Sebastian Telfair) fits into what I would call more of a traditional role and style of point guard where he's going to run the offense. He handles the ball extremely well, he can find people in the open floor. When you look at Price, this is a guy who is extremely athletic, can get to the rim, and he's going to be able to guard people from baseline to baseline."
The combination of Telfair and Price will give Coach Gentry different options for different situations according to Blanks.
One thing Suns fans will appreciate from Price is his animosity towards the Los Angeles Lakers. Price spent four years with the Utah Jazz and in three of those years his team was eliminated from the playoffs by L.A.
"I made that very clear," Price said when asked about his lack of fondness of the Lakers. Then he looked around for his new teammate, Shannon Brown who played for the hated Lakers.
"So yeah, I've had some problems with the Lakers," Price added. "Probably most of my technical fouls have been against the Lakers but you know, it's all part of competition. You want to beat the best and compete against the best. That's why I made those comments."
Suns camp notes:
Gentry said the team was still getting used to new pick and roll coverage schemes. The shooting is poor right now because the team is not basketball shape. That's typical for training camp.
Hakim Warrick and Robin Lopez were both singled out by Gentry for praise. In the portion of practice we watched, Warrick seemed energetic and was hitting outside shots. Lopez looked far more fluid and explosive than we saw last year. He also seemed more confident and relaxed on the court. It's just one practice but it will be interesting to see how he looks in Wednesday's intra-squad scrimmage as well.
Rookie Markieef Morris bumped knees with Price and sat out a portion of practice. Gentry said he never missed a practice in during his time in Kansas. "I think it scared him more than anything...He seemed to be OK. I'm sure it's going to be a little sore."
Josh Childress jammed a finger nail back in to the nail bed. He came off the floor, had it taped and finished practice. Here's a picture he tweeted out of the finger.
Unlike other wing players who've come to the Suns, Shannon Brown doesn't seem to be shy about shooting the ball according to his coach.
Here's video of Alvin Gentry talking to the media after practice.