Pressey counted on more this time around

Pressey counted on more this time around
July 8, 2014, 2:00 pm
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ORLANDO, Fla. – It was just a year ago this time when Phil Pressey was a bright-eyed, eager-to-please rookie on Boston's summer league team.

Today, he's not just a player but one of its leaders.

That leadership will be put to the test as the Celtics try and bounce back from a 96-77 loss to Indiana on Monday, a game in which they led 31-17 after the first quarter.

"I try to tell these guys, I was in games last year where we were up by 20 and lost the game and games we were down 20 and won," Pressey said. "You have to ... play the right way every moment of the game. Any given moment, a team can go on a run and take the lead."

But saying the right things is only part of Pressey's leadership. He's also putting in the time to improve his game, setting the kind of example the Celtics are looking for from their players.

Even as the Celtics backcourt continues to burst at the seams with so many new faces, Pressey continues to impress not only with his play but also his potential to keep getting better.

"He has a great feel for the game," Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, told "He understands our defensive concepts better. He's in the gym all the time; he's a gym rat. He has a great work ethic, and is a great teammate."

While there's a seemingly endless number of areas Pressey knows he has to work at improving, none looms as large as his shooting.

As a rookie last season, Pressey shot just 30.8 percent from the field and a woeful 26.4 percent on 3s.

He's up to 38 percent shooting from the field in summer league which includes a slight dip compared to regular season in 3s as he now connects on just 22 percent of his shots from 3-point range.

The lack of touch has nothing to do with effort, not with Pressey introducing a couple of new shots to his repertoire.

"I've been working on that every single day, my floater and my mid-range," Pressey said. "I'm going to get there 80, 90 percent of the time. I feel if I can master that, it's only going to open up my passing ability."

Pressey becoming a more reliable shooter not only benefits the Celtics, but also helps distance himself from the reputation he has as a pass-first, and second and third and ... kind of point guard.

"If I can master that, my passing will be so much easier because they'll have to honor that," Pressey said. "It's just me being a young player, learning my game and trying to improve every single day."