At 0-4, one of only two NBA teams without a victory this season, the Wizards do not need to gin up motivation Saturday night when the team plays in Indiana.
A.J. Price is providing incentive anyway. The location demands it.
Price joined the Wizards this offseason after spending his first three NBA campaigns with the Pacers. Rather than bring back their own free agent, the Pacers added another point guard in D.J. Augustin and set the stage for Price's own move.
"That’s one I definitely want to win," Price said following the Wizards latest loss, 101-91 at home to Milwaukee on Friday. "I relayed that to my guys. They already know that. We need a win as a team, so it’s a big game for us."
Serving in a reserve role with Indiana - his four starts in place of the injured John Wall top his three in three seasons with the Pacers - Price's scoring dropped from 7.3 points as a rookie to 3.9 last season. His minutes declined as well while the number of professional lessons learned rose.
Last month at Wizards media day, Price said of his departure from Indiana, "I learned that this is a business, first and foremost. Secondly, in this league no one is going to feel sorry for you. You need to put the onus upon yourself, on your shoulders and do what you need to do to make sure that you make it as tough as possible for people not to play you."
Thrust into the starting five in Washington due to Wall's preseason injury, Price is averaging 33 minutes along with 10.5 points and 6.5 assists. After committing six turnovers in Wednesday's overtime loss at Boston, the chatty New Yorker doled out a career-high nine assists against the Bucks. His dishing helped the Wizards' struggling starters find their way offensively and outscore the team's reserves for the first time this season. Alas, a winning formula remains elusive as Milwaukee pulled away in the fourth quarter.
"We rectified that problem that we’ve been having the last three games," Price said. "This game was more frustrating, moreso than the first three, because we should’ve won. We just did not. I don’t know what it was. We didn’t execute in the fourth with six minutes, we was stuck on whatever we had. We just let this one get away."
Going back to Indiana, Price would simply love nothing more than to remind the Pacers (2-4) of the one that got away while helping his new team pick up victory number one.
"Beat ‘em. We need a win," Price said. "That’s it."