Last season when Rajon Rondo went down, the Celtics had a tough time finding a ball player to bring the ball down the court. Often times, Paul Pierce was forced to bring the ball up the court, and be the facilitator/scorer for the team. Doc Rivers experimented with using Avery Bradley at the one, but as most know it didn’t pan out that well. With coach Stevens this year, he has tried many different line-ups through the pre-season, and will continue to do so until opening day.
There is one player that has separated himself from the rest of the possible point guards since arriving in Boston, that being rookie Phil Pressey. In college, Pressey dominated every time he stepped onto a basketball court for the Missouri Tigers, and has continued his success that professional level. The undrafted rookie was very impressive in his summer league play, and has continued his success into pre-season battles. His debut in the pre-season against the New York Knicks went smoother than many expected, as he logged 28 total game minutes, shot 4-5 from the field, 5-6 from the free throw line, three rebounds, and added an outstanding total of seven assists (also had two steals, and committed zero turnovers). Pressey would follow his debut with another impressive outing against the 76ers, as he shot 1-2 from the field, 4-4 at the charity stripe, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and one turnover in only 18 minutes of game play. He did stumble a against the New York Knicks on October 12th, as he played only 19 minutes and had six turnovers. It was his first learning experience in the NBA, and he will recover from this, while continuing to get better.
Coach Brad Stevens is already under enough pressure as it is going into this season, as it isn’t easy to come in and be the head coach of the Boston Celtics. With the franchising having rich history, it has been known to overwhelm some coaches (players as well) who take on the daunting task. Not only does Stevens have that pressure to win, but he will also not have his all-star caliber point guard, Rajon Rondo, too start the season. Unlike Doc Rivers, Stevens does have a “TRUE” point guard as option to go to, that being Phil Pressey.
The thing that separates Pressey from the rest of the field, is his basketball IQ. On most nights, Pressey will take care of the basketball, and not commit too many turnovers. He is constantly looking for the open man (much like Rondo), but he can also put points on the scoreboard if needed. The same cannot be said for Bradley, as he is much more suited to be a back door cutter type player, and his offensive game is much better when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands all the time. Until Rondo is cleared to play, Coach Stevens should look for Pressey to fill that void at the point guard position.