About a month ago, I penned a call to see more of Gabe Pruitt on the floor. Doc Rivers was kind enough to oblige. So far the results have been somewhat mixed. Gabe wasn't the magic elixir that cured the team of thier woes (one of his best games was a 7 point outing in a losing effort against the Rockets). In fact, his January points per game are identical to his December averages (2.8).
However, my point in that original column wasn't that Gabe would be a star or even a top of the rotation guy. The point was that we had a backup point guard on the roster who was better equiped to initiate the offense than Eddie House or Tony Allen.
What I think I missed was the biggest reason why Gabe has seen more floortime. The trickle down effect of the rotation. When Gabe handles the ball, Eddie House is freed up to be the cold blooded shooter that he was born to be. Scott Souza makes this point:
It wouldn’t have been as easy for him to do, either, had he still been handling the primary backup point guard duties behind Rajon Rondo. But with Rondo and Gabe Pruitt bringing the ball up the court recently, House has been able to do what he does best — run defenses ragged and pepper opponents with a shot that comes out of his hands in an instant.
“Eddie’s a scorer,” said Rondo. “He can play the point, but he’s definitely a scorer. This allows him to be more aggressive offensively coming off the ball. He doesn’t have to bring the ball up the floor against pressure. Then he can roam freely and come off screens. I think it’s more his natural position to come off screens and knock them down.”
In case you are wondering, Eddie is averaging 2 more points a game in Jan. (compared to December) and more importantly a blistering 50% from everywhere on the court.
So now we are in a position where we have had success with Gabe running the point. If Gabe doesn't continue to improve, it seems that we could still upgrade the position with a more veteran point guard and still get similar results out of Eddie House and the rest of the offense. If we can't bring anyone else in, there's always the Sam Cassell option.
I'm just happy that we are giving Gabe a chance to fill the role before we look elsewhere. He's not losing us any games and I think he's got a great shot at helping us win games. Even if that only means playing solid defense and setting up the second unit offense.