Yes, the title is slightly misleading. This isn’t an article about Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan. Rather, a look at the two players who could fill the void at the point guard position in the absence of Rajon Rondo; Phil Pressey and Jordan Crawfrod. Over the first three preseason games, both Pressey and Crawford have played admirably as the floor generals for the Celtics.
Crawford has a reputation as a shoot-first guard, taking any shot opportunities presented to him (both good and bad). However, last season’s numbers showed Crawford averaged 4.6 assists per 36 minutes, ranking him second behind Rondo on the entire Celtics roster. Across the first three games, Crawford has looked comfortable and composed as the player held responsible for bringing the ball up the court, showing good vision, quickness and a great ability to handle the ball.
Pressey, the undrafted rookie out of Missouri, shows composure beyond his NBA experience with the ball in his hands. Against the Knicks, he was largely responsible for the team’s late-game rally, distributing 7 assists while committing 0 turnovers. In today’s contest opposite the 76ers, Pressey showed poise, speed and pin-point passing to deliver 5 assists for 1 turnover. We are starting to see why Danny Ainge was on the phone to Pressey just minutes after the draft ended.
The most encouraging aspect of Crawford and Pressey’s play at the 1 however, is the ability to free up Avery Bradley. Among the Celtics Down Under team, there is a consensus that Bradley is most effective playing at the shooting guard position. Considering the workload Bradley was left with when Rondo went down at the end of last season, his responsibilities to bring the ball up the court impacted his defensive game. Instead of playing with the pitbull mentality Celtics fans have come to expect, Bradley began to preserve his energy to run the team on offense.
While there is some risk involved in starting Crawford or Pressey for the regular season, we have seen Bradley’s game diminish when he is responsible for running the point. Now could be the time to find Rondo’s true back up for now and the future.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!