NBA Draft Capsule: Mizzou PG Phil Pressey

NBA Draft Capsule: Mizzou PG Phil Pressey

June 11, 2013, 2:30 pm
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Phil Pressey, 5-foot-9 point guard, Missouri: The son of former NBA player and assistant coach Paul Pressey, credited by many as the originator of the "point forward" position, inherited his father's court vision, though not his size. A dynamic playmaker and big-time athlete for his diminutive size, Pressey is at his best as a pass-first floor general, evidenced by his gaudy assist numbers during his three-year college career. His ability to push the tempo, set up teammates and be a pest on the defensive end is certainly up to snuff, but questions about his decision-making, outside shooting and undersized frame remain.

Career highlights: The Tigers' all-time leader in both assists and steals, Pressey made an instant impact as a freshman under Mike Anderson, who played with his father in college and has known him since birth. Despite Anderson's departure after that season, Pressey thrived as a sophomore under new coach Frank Haith, posting seven double-digit assist games, leading the Big 12 in both assists and steals, earning third-team all-conference honors and garnering all-tournament honors during a banner campaign for Missouri, in which the team won the conference tournament, but was surprisingly upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. His junior year was disappointing from a team standpoint, but he posted career-high averages in scoring and assists, leading the SEC in the latter category, as well as having big games, such as a 19-point, 19-assist outing in a win over UCLA and 27 points and 10 assists in an overtime loss to Kentucky in a first-team all-league season.

Strengths: Pressey's quickness and ability to make plays with ball in his hands stand out as his best attributes, as his tight handle and passing acumen were almost unparalleled on the college level. Although he tends to gamble on the defensive end, he can wreak havoc on that side of the ball, whether pressuring his man into turnovers or helping on unsuspecting opponents. Despite his size, he's a clever finisher in the paint and is a fearless penetrator.

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Weaknesses: For a size-challenged point guard, Pressey's outside shooting is a serious area of concern, since it's imperative to be able to keep defenders honest from the perimeter, even for bigger players at the position. While his risk-taking style on defense had some success, it also leaves vulnerable if he doesn't come up with steals. But the biggest question mark about Pressey is his propensity for turnovers and shaky shot selection, as his crowd-pleasing passes aren't always high-percentage opportunities and it occasionally appears that he is trying to prove that he's capable of being a scoring point guard, even as his aforementioned shooting woes haven't been shored up.

Draft projection: Pressey could be a mid-to-late second-round pick, but he must play to his strengths during workouts with NBA teams and demonstrate that he can be a defensively-sound, pass-first playmaker with little margin for error at either end. His size will always be a liability, but even if he isn't drafted, if he gets the right summer-league opportunity and shows that he can run the show, he can certainly make a training-camp roster and from there, it will be a numbers game, though his father's NBA connections don't hurt. Best-case scenario: Pressey is picked up by a team that likes his potential as a change-of-pace backup, invests time in working on his shooting, he fully buys into what's hopefully an up-tempo system and continues to develop, with the fact that he's played for numerous coaches, moved around during his childhood due to his father's coaching career and has an NBA pedigree aiding the process.