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Phil Pressey Presses Forward In Santa Cruz

Contributor Francis Adu takes a look at Phil Pressey’s recent success with the Santa Cruz Warriors.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

As the son of Paul Pressey, one of the NBA’s first “point-forwards”, Phil Pressey’s acumen at organizing and conducting offenses has never been a surprise. This season, what has been a surprise is Phil Pressey’s new-found scoring aggression for the Santa Cruz Warriors.

With the unfortunate combination of a small 5’11 frame and unreliable jump shooting, Pressey had understandably concentrated his efforts more on creating scoring opportunities for his teammates rather than anything beyond the clearest of chances for himself. That mindset has pushed Pressey to average a pretty stellar 7.5 assists per game with a 2.1 Ast/TO ratio during his three years in the NBA D-League.

Despite the wise judiciousness of his shot volume, Pressey can also see his lack of scoring punch as his main deterrent from a regular role on a NBA roster.

For the 2016-17 NBADL season, Pressey seems to have decided he would make every effort to rectify that perceived scoring deficiency, whether ultimately successful or not. From his season last year as a member of the Idaho Stampede to this season, Pressey’s field goal attempts per game have leaped from 11.5 a game to 16.0. His three point attempt volume has also increased by over 50% from last season. This all leads to an unexpected 18.7 points per game as a Santa Cruz Warrior.

In this month of March, Pressey has doubled down harder on his new scoring mentality by averaging 25.0 points per game in his 4 games of the month. Even more impressively, Pressey has accumulated at least 10 assists in every March game except his last 26 point outing in a March 10th victory where he only got to reach a measly 9 assists for the contest. This stretch probably be best summarized by his 21 point, 15 rebound, 19 assist box-score bonanza on March 1st, one of the great performances in NBADL history.

Pressey’s recent play has helped spark a five game winning streak for the now 24-17 Santa Cruz Warriors. The Warriors famously try to implement as much of the NBA version’s ideologies and system as feasible and Pressey has become Santa Cruz’s version of Stephen Curry. Pressey’s style has shifted jarringly enough to give him the confidence to shoot 6 for 13 from beyond the arc in that aforementioned March 10th victory over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Consistency from Pressey is now his next hurdle, especially with his newly hyperactive shooting stroke, but Pressey has already demonstrated once the willingness to grow in order to earn his team victories. Another development doesn’t sound too far-fetched now.