UConn Basketball

with Kevin Duffy

Q&A: Who will be the better pro — A.J. Price or Shabazz Napier?

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Q: Who will have the better NBA career — A.J. Price or Shabazz Napier?

- Joe Cabral, Northborough, Mass.

A.J. Price (AP)

A: First of all, love the question. Probably the best UConn question I’ve been asked this year. So here’s my take: We’ll have to see how Big East play goes, but at the moment, A.J. Price is the better college player. Price was an efficient scorer (he shot 40 percent from 3-point range as a senior) and led the Huskies with 14.7 points and 4.7 assists per game. He was a tremendous leader, too, which often goes overlooked.

That said, Shabazz Napier has been great through nine games. Although he only scored six points versus Harvard, Napier completely dominated the second half. DeAndre Daniels kept the Huskies in the game, and Napier (team-high seven rebounds, nine assists and four steals) was the catalyst for UConn’s late spurt.

If you want to compare the two at the NBA level, I give Napier the slight edge. He’s much more fluid than Price, who is averaging 9.1 points and 5.2 assists as the Wizards’ replacement for an injured John Wall.  Napier is quicker, capable of scoring in more ways. Price is more physical and, at least right now, fractionally better as a spot-up shooter. I think both will have careers as back-ups in the NBA, but Napier’s creativity and fluidity makes him a better prospect.

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