With just about a month to go until the 2013 NBA draft, KC Kingdom continues to provide NBA draft profiles for players from the local schools. Phil Pressey, the athletic point guard with plenty of upside, from the Missouri Tigers, has a chance to make a splash in the NBA.
Without a doubt, Phil “Flip” Pressey, is one of the most electrifying players to come through the Missouri men’s basketball program. The son of former NBA player Paul Pressey, stands at 6’0 and weighs 175 pounds and is projected to be a late 1st round to early 2nd round prospect. As a freshman, Pressey averaged 22.3 minutes a game, had 117 assists and had 61 steals. His sophomore season, Pressey became the starting point guard for Mizzou and his numbers had a tremendous increase. Pressey averaged 32.1 minutes per game including averages of 6.4 assists, 2.1 steals and 10.3 points per game. He would finish a candidate for All-America honors and the 2013 Bob Cousy Award, given annually to college basketball’s top point guard. Pressey would help lead Mizzou to a record of 30-4 that season and also a Big 12 tournament championship. Mizzou went on to lose a heart breaker to Norfolk State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
In his junior season, Pressey was asked to carry a greater offensive burden after the graduation of Marcus Denmon and Kim English and the December loss of star guard Michael Dixon Jr. Pressey responded by posting career highs in points (11.9) and assists (7.1) and helped the Tigers to a 23-11 record and a NCAA Tournament appearance. Pressey is the master of the assist and finished as Mizzou’s all time leader with 580. He finished last season as a first team All SEC player and was one of Mizzou’s team captains.
For his size, Pressey is fearless. He is one of the best ball handler and dribblers on the court. He combines that with creative quickness and vision to make tough passes to his big men down low, and his open perimeter shooters. His hands are very quick, helping him average 2.5 steals per game last season and finish with a career total of 196. Pressey also has the ability to drive in the lane. His speed and ball handling ability allow him to make good post moves on his initial defender, but has a bad habit of trying to do too much causing him to alter his shot and not finishing with buckets. He has ability to score from the perimeter, but NBA teams will hardly ask him to do so. The talent is clearly there for Flip, so why is he projected later in the draft?
Flip is definitely NBA talent, but he lacks what every great player needs, the clutch factor. In the Tigers last 6 road games last season, they lost by only 7 points or less. Pressey, down the stretch of those games, would either have a bad turnover or pull up for a very early and unbalanced shot. He averaged a staggering 3.5 turnovers per game and also posted career-lows in field-goal percentage (37.6) and three-point percentage (32.4) while taking the most shots of his career. A lot of criticism came down on the SEC’s preseason player of the year and that definitely has hurt his draft stock.
It seemed like Pressey tried too hard to become Mizzou’s best player, when he already was. So many times last season, Pressey would make the most ridiculous passes look routine, but would also make some of the most costly turnovers. Late in the Texas A&M game in College Station last season, the tigers forced a turnover with a one point lead and time expiring. Pressey drove the court with 24 seconds remaining and received limited pressure, eventually throwing the ball out of bounds on a pass. That turnover would result in a 3 point shot made by the Aggies and giving them a two point lead with 12.4 seconds left. Pressey drove the court the next possession and took a quick three point shot that would rim out and Missouri would lose 70-68. That is just one example of how Pressey would play late in games for Mizzou last season, but it sums it up perfectly. He would attempt terrible perimeter shots early in the shot clock or force his presence in the lane with a terrible lob that would hardly go in or result in a timely turnover.
Despite all his late game problems last season, Phil Pressey is one of the greatest Missouri basketball players of all time. What he accomplished in three seasons with the Tigers was impressive and he has earned his spot in the NBA draft. He was invited to this years combine and according to ESPN analyst, Chad Ford, Pressey is the 35th best player and 10th best point guard in this years draft class. Best of luck to him, and it should be interesting to watch and see what he can offer an NBA franchise.