It didn’t take long for Brad Stevens to text Phil Pressey when he got Celtics head coaching job. It took even less time for Pressey to call back.
“Right when I got the job I sent a text message out that night,” said Stevens. “He called me within about a minute after I sent the text.”
“He texted me and he told me ‘text me or call me whenever you want,’” explained Pressey. “So I was like ‘alright, cool, I’m about to call him right now’ because I never talked to him before. I called him right away.”
Pressey turned in his second straight impressive performance of the summer, with 12 points and 4 assists in a 30 point Celtics romp over the Pistons. That followed 11 points and 4 assists in first-game loss yesterday. He’s been a pest defensively so far, and he’s shown a desire to set up his teammates, rather than put on an offensive show.
“One of the things that I noticed… is his eyes. He’s trying to read what’s going on.” said Stevens, who is observing from a court side seat, “He’s not just tunnel vision into his man or tunnel vision into the ball, he’s got his eyes all over the place and he is aware of what’s going on.”
“I’m just going to play my role and try to create for others,” said Pressey after the game. “I’ll leave the scoring to Kelly and those guys. They’re doing pretty fine with it right now.”
Pressey, the former Missouri star who spent a year at Waltham High School while his father was on Doc Rivers’ staff, was among the players the Celtics considered on draft night. But with a focus on bigs, they ended up passing on him. As soon as everyone else passed on him too, the C’s jumped at the chance to grab him.
“[Danny Ainge] called me literally like 10-15 minutes after the draft. I talked to him and I was happy to be with the Celtics.”
Of course, there’s no guarantee he’s going to make it. Undrafted signees usually have a tough time sticking around. But the way Stevens is talking, Pressey is going to get a chance.
“I like Phil. There are some things that Phil can certainly get better at and he will, he’ll work hard to do it. He’s very dynamic with the ball, and I think if he continues to do that and if he continues to make shots and really work on that part of things he’s going to be in good shape.”
One problem for Pressey is turnovers. He’s got 9 in two games. Summer League Head Coach Jay Larranaga has said turnovers are expected in a summer league setting like this where guys are still getting comfortable with one another. But it’s also something the Celtics have told Pressey to work on.
“I talked to Danny Ainge a lot he knows I can do a lot of those things but the one thing I have to work on and get better is just maintaining my turnovers. If I keep those low, all the other things will take care of themselves.”
It’s the summer, and we don’t know yet how the Phil Pressey story will go. We get decent performances from guys every summer, and every autumn almost all of those are forgotten as we get through training camp. But Pressey is hoping that between now and then, he can do enough on and off the court to make the team.
“Whatever team I’m playing for, I try to make a good connection with the head coach. Whenever you can do that, you should be alright if you can make a good connection with him along with the GM. So I just try to stay positive with them and hopefully that can take me a long way.
“This is a great opportunity to show what I can do. I like my chances.”