Generally speaking, I'm not one to overreact. Anyone can have a good game. Anyone can look good on a given night. The A.J. Price case is different, though.
He was a key part in Indiana's success on Monday night and along with Roy Hibbert's 29, helped guide the blue and gold to win number two. Many fans (especially rival ones) may have scoffed when the Pacers signed Price to join the team in Boston this past Friday. Personally, I didn't expect to see much of Price after the hardship exception ended. Nothing against Price. I'd have been surprised if Gal Mekel stuck around, too. It's just the nature of the business with the exception.
That is until Monday night.
Things change quickly for NBA players, and a 22-point bench effort will certainly help them change for the positive. The former 2009-10 2nd-round pick of the Pacers was waived just 11 days ago by the Cavaliers. He knows that this might be his final opportunity to make an impact for an NBA team: "Definitely not taking anything for granted. It wasn't too long ago I was at home in New York with my family," Price said.
I think it's safe to say that the 5-year veteran has earned himself, at minimum, a couple more looks from NBA franchises before going to play in China (which he's suggested that he considered). Whether or not it's with the Pacers is the burning question.
As noted in the injury update by fellow Indy Cornrows writer @C2_Cooper, Indiana is a week or less away from the return of David West and seemingly not much longer than that for C.J. Watson and or Rodney Stuckey. That's when the Pacers will have to make the decision to either keep A.J. around and waive a player who started the season with the team, or send Price to look for work for the second time in as many weeks.
It's a question I've struggled with since before I began writing this post and one that I'm sure to over-dissect after the actual move is made. My personal vote is that I'd like for Indiana to keep him around. Hopefully there will be a few more showcases for #12 to prove me right or wrong.