Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“I don’t do deals just for the sake of change,” said Ainge. “We change for the purpose of progress.
“In the deal that we did with Jordan (Crawford) and MarShon (Brooks), as an example, we like those guys, but we really want to see Phil (Pressey) play. And it was tough for him to get minutes and opportunities. With Rondo coming back, Phil wasn’t going to (get) a chance to play much.
Back in July, I was at the Orlando summer league getting my first glimpse of these new Celtics. During a break, I walked into the media cafeteria for some lunch and sat down at a big, round table. Across from me were two members of an NBA franchise’s scouting team (which I will not name) who happened to be discussing the Celtics at the time. When it came to Phil Pressey, one said “I don’t know who told him to come out of college early. He got some bad advice.”
I made a mental note of the conversation and moved on, but I remember thinking the guy had a point. I’ve never really been on board the Pressey bandwagon. I’ve always thought he was a bit too small and too turnover prone, and that his shot wasn’t good enough to succeed in the NBA.
But I’m not Brad Stevens. And Brad Stevens, along with Danny Ainge, have seen something in Pressey that they like, and right now, it’s working for the Celtics.
First of all… this kid can pass. And when I say this kid can pass… I mean he can PASS.
That play is just gorgeous. I could watch that play all day long. And it takes balls to try that play, too. There’s not much of a passing lane there, but he got clear of his defender and found the one sliver of daylight to make the right pass with enough English on it to hit the target.
As for his shooting, it’s still not where it needs to be, but Pressey is getting nothing but the green light from his coaches.
Stevens said. “And Phil puts in a lot of hours. Phil’s probably in the practice facility as much as anybody else on our team. So I expect it to go in. I think the biggest thing is just, for him to pass up an open 3 to take a one-dribble pull-up – you know, take the open 3. Step into it with a great deal of confidence and let it fly, because everyone on the bench expects you to let it fly.”
Gerald Wallace was among the more vocal players who uh, “strongly encouraged” the rookie to keep shooting.
“I don’t think he has a choice,” Wallace said. “I don’t think he wants to come back to the locker room not shooting the ball after what we’ve told him.”
Let’s not pretend his shooting is ok. It’s been really bad this season, and it needs to improve. The 7-for-10 shooting night against Washington raised his field goal percentage to 27.8% this season. His true shooting percentage is under 36%. He needs a lot of work in that area to succeed. But the Celtics are going to give him that chance.
But the Celtics aren’t turning to Pressey to be a scorer, he just needs to pass and play defense.
“I’ve been saying this since Day One. Guys are a lot bigger than me, they might be able to shoot over me or something like that,” Pressey said. “But I put my athletic ability, my speed and quickness against anybody. I try to use that to my advantage.”
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is among those pleased with the growth in Pressey’s game this season.
“I think Phil has come a long way,” Ainge told CSNNE.com recently. “He is playing great right now. Not just the assists that everybody hypes up. I think his defense, his presence on the court, his confidence … when he’s playing I really feel that the guys love playing with him.”
The Celtics are going to give Pressey every chance to make this team. They’ve moved players, in part, to get him some playing time. And he’s under contract for the next two years (non-guaranteed, so he can be waived if need be).
If he works out, the Celtics will have the back-up point guard they’ve been looking for since Rajon Rondo assumed the starting point guard role… and they’ll have it at less than a million dollars a year. In a best-case scenario, he could turn out to be one of the NBA’s notable bargains.
Page 2: Kevin Durant is the Slim Reaper
Kevin Durant’s recent murder spree through the NBA has earned him an awesome new nickname: The Slim Reaper.
I don’t care if he doesn’t like it… it’s too good not to use. It’s like a wrestling name. He could be The Undertaker’s tag team partner.
C’mon KD… get on board.
And now we can play things like this in our recaps if we manage to win tonight
Someone’s going to have to explain the polar vortex to this guy.
And Perk’s face… priceless… as always
The rest of the links
Globe: Ainge says Celtics made Rondo a contract offer | CSNNE: Blakely’s six-pack power rankings | Ainge: We talked to Rondo about an extension | ESPN Boston: Rondo merits extension, eventually | C’s in final All Star voting