Marc Spears has a timely article on Gabe Pruitt today. Some good quotes about how the staff feels about him and his experience in the D-League. Here's what his D-League coach had to say about him:
"He'll grow into being a pure point guard," said Jones by telephone. "He's a playmaker and if you can pass the ball to set people up like he can, you can be a point guard. When he is in the mind-set of setting people up, he can be a point guard."
Consider me skeptical anytime I hear someone trying to sell me on the "we can convert him to a pure point guard" routine. I've heard it one too many times in this town (right Joe Forte?). There's no such thing as "becoming" something you call "pure." Either you're born with it or you are not. You can, however, teach shooting guards to be decent enough distributors (Billups is a good default example).
Given the fact that both of our other "point guards" are really shooting guards who can't handle the rock, I'll consider Gabe to be an upgrade if he can simply get the ball over half court without making me dry heave. Plus, the kid has shown so far that he can play some solid defense.
With Rondo out against Portland, coach Doc Rivers told Pruitt during shootaround that morning that he would get an opportunity to play. Rivers has been concerned about Pruitt's defense and had told him his playing time would be determined by his defensive effort, not his offense. Assistant coach Armond Hill also spent time with Pruitt prepping him for the Blazers.
"I'm really proud of him," Rivers said. "All we work with him on is his defense. His offense is good."
But does all this make him our solution to the backup point guard position? Probably not entirely. I mean, you can't rely on a rookie second rounder to back up your second year starter and expect them to make good, solid, veteran decisions every time down. But the kid can't hurt us too much by playing some minutes when he's needed and getting more accustomed to the pro game. And who knows, maybe he'll surprise us and really make a splash like that other second round draft pick Big Baby.