Articles

Phil Pressey


 

 

Offense: Pressey is a pass-first facilitating point guard, and one of the best in the country in filling this role. He always has the ball in his hands, and is a deft passer from almost all angles on the court. The stats bear this out; Pressey is 8th in the country is assists at 7.1 per game, and is Mizzou’s all-time leader in that category.

Pressey knows his teammates very well, and is able to deliver the right pass to the right receiver in the right situation; lobs to his big men, crisp passes to cutters and right into the shooting pocket for shooters. His head is always up and, partly due to his 5’11 frame, he keeps a very low center of gravity while dribbling.

As a result, Pressey rarely gets knocked off-balance during offensive sets, helping him to deliver those timely passes on target consistently. He also rarely has the ball stolen from him in half court situations due to this low center of gravity.

He sees passing lanes before they develop, and while this creates a lot of opportunities for his Missouri teammates, it sometimes causes Pressey to force passes before his teammates are ready to receive them. At the next level, this ability will be key for Pressey, and defenses are obviously going to be even quicker in their anticipation.

Pressey is very good in the pick-n-roll, keeping his head up and rarely forcing passes in these situations, a major issue for many college guards.

Pressey is very comfortable dribbling with either hand, and despite his lack of size he is good at using his body to shield defenders, especially when penetrating. He lacks athleticism, but has a quick first step and attacks the hoop well off the dribble.

He is uncomfortable finishing around the hoop among opposing big men, and as a result tends to defer almost too much when he gets in the paint; this is not as much of an issue in college, where his penetration alone gets defenses enough out of position that we can usually find a target, but at the next level he will not get away with this as easily.

Pressey is an effective playmaker in both the half court and on the break, but sometimes to get himself out of control when the game speeds up. This is partly due to his only average change of pace ability. Overall, however, he is fantastic at running the break, a result of his ability to time passes correctly.

Pressey has a tremendously high basketball IQ, the result of being a coach’s son, and uses this to effectively be a coach on the floor in half court sets. He is always talking and pointing teammates where to go, and is especially good at resetting the offense off of a failed set.

One issue for Pressey moving forward is his jump shot; it is inconsistent and while he is always on balance when making passes, he struggles to square his shoulders and shoot consistently when pulling up off the dribble. He is better when spotting up, but rarely does this, as he mostly is on the ball offensively.

Pressey’s release is good and he snaps his wrist well on his follow-through, but his lower body is all over the place and he doe not get very much elevation.

While he lacks range, shooting only 32% from 3, this will be as big of an issue moving forward; he will not be a guy who shoots a lot to begin with, and is quick enough to get by defenders even when being dared to shoot.

 

Strengths:

-       Passer: vision, timing, makes plays for others

-       Ball handling guard; dribbles low to the ground, comfortable with both hands

 

Weaknesses:

-       Not a comfortable finisher; will be dared to do so moving forward

-       Size a major issue at the next level

-       Shooting

 

Defense: Pressey’s size is obviously the biggest concern on the defensive end of the ball, as he will be undersized against almost every opponent at the next level. He makes up for some of this with his great lateral quickness and anticipation, but will still struggle to contest shots, and opponents will be able to easily shoot over him.

He does have very quick hands, and is good at applying ball pressure, cutting down on passing lanes and helping to offset the issues his lack of size creates. Also as a result of his lateral quickness, Pressey is difficult to get by off the bounce and contains guard penetration better than would be expected given his size.

Pressey absorbs contact well, and his low base and quick feet make it hard to push him off the ball, despite his small frame. He sometimes gets frustrated by bigger guards who try to push him around, but generally shows good desire to defend and does not commit silly fouls.

Off the ball, Pressey positions himself very well, and has above-average length for his size (6’3 wingspan). This combination makes him very good at defending cuts and similar off-ball movement, and due to his high IQ, Pressey often beats his man to the spot off the ball.

Pressey sometimes gets lazy on his closeouts, almost using his size as an excuse for not getting out to his man. He boxes out well but inconsistently, and his physical, disruptive style on defense allows him to rebound somewhat effectively for his position and size, although he predictably struggles to rebound in traffic.

While he seems like a good target to be involved in ball screens, Pressey’s quickness and ability to make himself small make him a misleadingly good defender in these situations. He rarely gets caught in switches, although when this does happen he is almost always on the wrong end of a mismatch.

Moving forward, Pressey will need to show scouts he can defend the point guard position well enough to stay on the floor. He well never be an NBA starter largely because of the defensive end, but the positive side of this is that Pressey will only be expected to guard 2nd unit guards at the next level.

 

Strengths:

 

-       Very good lateral quickness; tough to get by off the bounce

-       Quick hands (team-leading 1.8 steals per game)

-       High IQ and anticipation

 

Weaknesses:

 

-       Size: struggles to contest shots as opponents can shoot over him

-       Lacks athleticism

-       Can he guard enough to stay on the floor?

 

Overall: There is no doubt that Pressey is one of the best point guards in the country, and is as good of a passer as they come. He really struggles to finish when he gets to the hoop, and there are two ways to look at this.

One, that teams at the next level will force him to be a finisher and he will struggle as a result, or two, that he will have better finishers around him and be able to use his passing and anticipation skills to make his finishing problems irrelevant. The true answer likely lies somewhere in the middle.

Pressey is the ultimate guy that others want to play with, and while his size will be a major question mark at the next level—especially on the defensive end.

The success of similarly sized guys like Aaron Brooks and Isaiah Thomas has made teams slightly less weary of undersized facilitators if they are skilled enough, and Pressey certainly is. He will never be a starter, but he could end up being a late 1st round pick.