Pressey already looking to improve his game

Pressey already looking to improve his game
May 2, 2014, 7:15 pm
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WATERTOWN, Mass. — As Phil Pressey went from one table to another inspecting the fruit-centric masterpieces the kids at the Watertown Boys and Girls Club were arranging as part of a Celtics (and America's Compound Center) healthy eating habits promotion, he could relate to what some of them were feeling.

Just a year ago around this time, Pressey was doing his best to impress NBA scouts and front office personnel at the NBA's draft combine which will once again be in Chicago, May 14-18.

The Boston Celtics' brass will be in Chicago to get a better look at potential options for them in June's NBA draft in which they will have a pair of first-round picks.

The first Celtics pick will be no worse than No. 8 while the second will be No. 17 overall and comes by way of Brooklyn as part of the Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett trade last summer.

Pressey recalls being on edge throughout the draft combine process.

"It was very, very stressful," Pressey recalled. "You don't know what's going to happen the next couple of months. You don't know where you're going to be."

Pressey, who left Missouri after his junior season, went undrafted but signed with the Celtics shortly afterwards.

"You just have to keep taking care of what you can take care of," Pressey said. "Just keep working and do everything the right way. If you do that, you should be alright."

Pressey was indeed "alright" as a rookie for the Celtics this past season.

Although he averaged just 2.8 points and 3.2 assists per game, there was a noticeable improvement in his production as well as the team's success when he had a chance to play as a starter.

In 11 starts, Pressey averaged 8.2 points and 7.2 assists while turning the ball over just 2.6 times per game.

Maybe most significant, the Celtics were 6-5 with him as the team's starting point guard.

While you won't find anyone on Causeway Street calling for him to be Rajon Rondo's replacement, there's no doubt that Pressey proved that he can get the job done when called upon.

One of the biggest challenges for him is to become a more consistent shooter, an area he showed signs of growth towards the end of the season.

He shot just 30.8 percent for the season but connected on 35 and 37.5 percent of his shots in March and April, respectively.

Since the Celtics' season ended, Pressey said he has been relaxing with family and friends.

But that all changes next week when he begins preparing for next season.

He will try and improve in all parts of his game, but shooting is the one aspect of his play that has to get better for him to build off of this season.

"I really felt I started shooting the ball (better) towards the end of the year, once I started playing more," Pressey said. "It's just a confidence factor with me. I know i can make that shot, just knowing when to take it. I know I can hit it."

But there is a balance that Pressey has to strike, knowing his minutes next season may be more limited due to Rajon Rondo's expected return to his usual 30-plus minutes per game workload.

"I have to learn to make my shots when they come to me, and just take it, just keep working," Pressey said. "It's tough for a lot of young guys coming out of college when you play all the time. You have to go out there and do your job, whether it's five minutes or 30 minutes."