Selected first in the second round (25th overall) by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1986 NBA Draft, he was acquired by the Cleveland Cavaliers in a draft day trade that helped turn the team into an Eastern Conference power.
Price was known as one of the league’s most consistent shooters. He finished his career with a 90.4% free throw shooting percentage and a 40% three-point field goal shooting percentage. During the 1988–89 season, Price became the second player, after Larry Bird, to join the NBA’s 50-40-90 Club for those who shot at least 40% from three-point range, at least 50% from the field and at least 90% from the free throw line in a single season, and is still one of only six players to have ever done this while also achieving the NBA league minimum number of makes in each category. Price ranked consistently among the assist leaders (as of December 2009, he is the Cavaliers all-time leader with 4,206), twice won the Three Point Contest, and was a four-time All-Star. Price was named to the All-NBA First Team after the 1992–93 season. Price currently ranks second in franchise steals with 734, a Cavaliers record that stood until December 9, 2008 when LeBron James surpassed him.
Another one of Price’s distinguishing traits on the court was his pioneering of the splitting of the double team. As former teammate Steve Kerr explains, “Mark really revolutionized the way that people attack the screen and roll. To me, he was the first guy in the NBA who really split the screen and roll. A lot of teams started blitzing the pick and roll and jumping two guys at it to take the ball out of the hands of the point guard. He’d duck right between them and shoot that little runner in the lane. Nobody was doing that at that time. You watch an NBA game now and almost everybody does that. Mark was a pioneer in that regard.
He was plagued by injuries late in his career, a factor in his trade to the Washington Bullets prior to the 1995–96 season. He played one season for Washington before moving on to the Golden State Warriors and later the Orlando Magic, where he played his final season. He retired in 1998. Not long after retirement, Price’s number, 25, was retired by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday …salutes …Mark Price.
|1996–1997||Golden State Warriors|