In a possible attempt at hi-jacking the attention from what's going on in Brooklyn today, the Boston Celtics announced they have signed undrafted point guard Phil Pressey to a multi-year contract. Pressey was impressive in the Summer League and rightfully earned this spot on the roster.
While this means the roster swells even larger, it also means that the Celtics have a point guard, albeit an unproven one, to play in Rajon Rondo's stead. Rondo's timetable for a return is still up in the air, meaning that the Celtics could be putting Pressey on the court for some meaningful minutes. Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee both proved last year that they are not very comfortable with the ball in their hands running the offense. MarShon Brooks is too shot-happy to handle the ball, also.
This move begs the question, will Rondo be back in time for the season opener? If no, then the Celtics need to find a way to land another point guard or more effective combo guard in order to bridge the gap.
Let's take a look at what Pressey's strengths and weaknesses are.
Things the fans will like about Pressey:
Pressey ran a pretty explosive offense at Missouri last season, but his sophomore year it was a transcendent offense. They ranked 20th in scoring. They played an up-tempo brand of basketball and while Pressey did not score a lot himself, averaging 11.9 points a game, he did also dish out 7.1 assists. He's a spritely point guard at 5'11" and runs the floor well. He was surrounded by teammates that ran the floor with him at Missouri. The questions begs, can he find some running mates in Boston? He could be an interesting replacement for Rondo during games, as Rondo seems much more comfortable in the half court, creating for teammates. Pressey seems more likely to run, a good trait for a point guard coming off the bench.
Pressey was eighth in the country in assists per game last season. His passing on the break is superb, and from highlights he likes to run a pick and roll also, which he can pass out of effectively. Of the top eight players in assists last year, Pressey had the lowest assist to turnover ration. In fact, he was the only one of the top eight with a A/TO ratio of under 2.
When a player likes to run with the ball, he has got to be able to keep it under control. Pressey is pretty good at this. He runs well and also can take a player on in the pick and roll or in isolation.
All of these strengths bring one thing to mind. Highlights and excitement. Now let's look at some things that might leave the Boston faithful pulling their hair out.
This might be the biggest short-coming (pun intended) that Pressey will face. His quickness will serve him well on offense, but his size and quickness on defense might make it difficult for him to guard bigger point guards. It may also hinder his ability to run the offense in the half court, as bigger defenders and more physical play could effect his decision making and ability to shoot the ball over outstretched arms.
With quickness and up tempo basketball comes risky play, at times. Pressey's risk taking is more noticeable on the defensive side of the ball. He likes to jump passing lanes, which resulted in him forcing 1.8 steals a game in his junior year. That number was down from his freshman year (2.0 steals) and his sophomore year (2.1) steals. Hopefully his aggressiveness can be harnessed, while still generating some steals.
Pressey's shooting ability leaves something to be desired. He likes to get into the lane and make his shot. However, once again, his size might force him into taking more jump shots. He shot 37% from the field last year, and only 32% on three-pointers. He is also a disappointing free throw shooter, never cracking 76% in college. While his role will not be to create his own shot, defenses will give him the Rondo treatment and sag off. Leaving him less space to utilize his wonderful court vision, and potentially making the offense stagnant.
The Final Verdict:
Phil Pressey will see some solid minutes unless Danny Ainge deals for another point guard. It does not seem too likely given the amount of guards they currently have (Rondo, Courtney Lee, Avery Bradley, MarShon Brooks, Jordan Crawford, and Keith Bogans).
It's more likely that Danny will unload some of these guys, and MarShon Brooks and Jordan Crawford seem like completely redundant players so one would imagine that something needs to give between those two.
Some comparisons have been made with Nate Robinson. Here's hoping the consistency is greater, but maybe Pressey would be so kind as to consider getting a flat-top going.
Tags: assists, Basketball, Boston, Boston Celtics, combo guard, Courtney Lee, Danny Ainge, Jordan Crawford, MarShon Brooks, Nate Robinson, NBA, pressey, strengths and weaknesses, Summer League