Pressey making most of new opportunity

Pressey making most of new opportunity
January 19, 2014, 6:00 pm
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ORLANDO, Fla. — When the Boston Celtics traded Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks to Golden State, the move fell in line with Boston's desire to continue adding assets (draft picks) to an ever-expanding portfolio.

But just as the move created more opportunities in the future, it also enhanced the chances for rookie point guard Phil Pressey to play now.

And that was among the more prominent factors considered by the Celtics prior to engineering the three-team trade that netted them, in addition to draft picks, Miami Heat reserve center Joel Anthony.

"One of the reasons that we made the trade that we made, was to give him an opportunity to play," Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, told "He's played really well the last two games."

Pressey's 19 assists without a single turnover stands out from the last two games.

But Ainge sees Pressey's improved play in other areas as well.

"I think Phil has come a long way," Ainge said. "He is playing great right now. Not just the assists and the turnovers that everybody hypes up. I think his defense, his presence on the court, his confidence ... he's just getting better and better."

And the greatest testament to his improved play doesn't necessarily appear among the reams of analytical data, either.

Ainge likes the fact that the Celtics' ball movement is often better when Pressey's on the floor.

"When the ball is moving, everybody's involved," Ainge said. "When the ball slows down and you get into your offense with eight or nine seconds left, you don't really have much of a chance for second-chance opportunities and not everyone touches the ball. So the more the ball moves, the more people are involved in the game and the more people are touching.

Ainge added, "that's one of Phil's greatest strengths. When he's playing I really feel that the guys love playing with him."

Like any player, Pressey would love to play more. But in having limited minutes, he has come to understand the value of maximizing each moment he's on the floor.

"I'm just trying to do whatever I can to help the team win," Pressey said. "That's my mindset. I have confidence in myself, and the coaches and my teammates have confidence in me also. I definitely feel comfortable out there."