Phil Pressey was undrafted. That has to be the starting point of his evaluation. He was overlooked and passed by. At 5'11" and 175 lbs. you can understand why he might have been missed. He's not a particularly good shooter and as the season got started he was buried on the bench behind several 2 guards masquerading as points.
Yet there he was at the end of the season, the last guard standing, filling in for Rajon Rondo and doing a mighty find job of it.
Over the final six games of the season, Pressey averaged 7 points, 8.7 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.3 steals over 29.8 minutes per game. He shot 40 percent from the field during that span. Most impressively, Boston's often-lethargic offense averaged a whopping 110.4 points per 100 possessions with Pressey on the floor during those six games (only offset by Boston's defensive indifference late in the year). In four starts during that six-game span, Pressey averaged 10 points, 11.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 2 steals per game.
If you aren't a superstar player and you want to stick around in this league, you have to have a superpower. A specialty skill that you do better than most people in the world. Phil Pressey's superpower is passing and he's really fun to watch when he's feeling it.
Of course he has his limitations, but he's also got the ultimate role model and teacher on his team in Rondo. Who better to explain to someone how to create angles and space even when a defense isn't respecting your shot? Who better to teach him pace and patience and preparation?
Pressey and Rondo both speak the language of passing but Rondo is a professor while Pressey is still just a grad student. Phil talked often about how much he would pester Rondo with questions, soaking in whatever knowledge he could get. Rondo seemed to love playing the role of teacher and defacto assistant coach.
Going forward it seems like it could be an ideal fit as well. You always want the best possible players, but sometimes you can have too many players demanding time at certain positions. A fully healthy Rondo is going to be playing heavy minutes, so Pressey really only has to be ready and capable in short spurts unless Coach Stevens wants to mix things up with a 2 point guard lineup from time to time. Assuming Avery Bradley is back and healthy (not the most reliable assumptions at the moment but still...) Pressey can fill in as a 3rd or 4th guard.
When the opponents are tired of chasing Rondo around, Pressey can come in as a pace changer. He seems to work best when he turns on the jets and takes it right at the defense, forcing them to adjust in transition and opening lanes for Phil's teammates on the break.
I'm such a sucker for a pass-first point guard that I can't help but root for the little guy. He is a great value in that he cost us no picks and has a salary that is about as low as it gets in this league (with team options). I've always found it frustrating when Ainge filled in the backup point guard spot with yet another converted shooting guard or combo guard that really was just a short off guard.
Pressey isn't likely to be a star in the league, but he can be a nice rotation player. He knows how to find his teammates and he is learning how to run the offense from one of the best in the business. Here's hoping that we'll see Pressey continue to learn and grow in Boston for years to come.