Scouting Phil Pressey and Vitor Faverani

BOSTON – Phil Pressey and Vitor Faverani became the newest members of the Boston Celtics on Monday when they officially inked free-agent deals with the team. Boston’s brain trust obviously thinks highly of these two players, but the team’s fan base knows almost nothing about them.

Pressey played for the team during the Orlando Pro Summer League and impressed many with his skills. Those five games gave Boston’s fan base a small sample size of Pressey, but Faverani stands as a complete unknown. He joins the Celtics from the Spanish ACB league, and fans probably hadn’t even heard of him until the past couple of weeks.

To help you get to know these guys and their games a bit better, here are scouting reports on both players.

Phil Pressey – Point Guard

Avery Bradley lowers shoulder after injury

Phil Pressey performed very well for the Celtics at the Orlando Pro Summer League.
Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images

Pressey is a 22-year-old point guard who played three seasons at Missouri, the last two of which included averages of at least 10.3 points per game and 6.4 assists per game. Pressey’s 7.1 assists per game last season ranked eighth in the country.

Despite a distinguished career at Missouri, Pressey went undrafted on June 27. Teams passed on him, most likely, because of his size (or lack thereof). Pressey is listed at just 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds.

The Celtics looked past that size and brought him in for a pre-draft workout, then signed him to their summer league team. Pressey shined in Orlando by averaging 9.4 points per game, 2.2 rebounds per game and 6.6 assists per game over five contests.

Throughout the week, Pressey showcased some very important skills. First and foremost, he seemed to play bigger than his size. His great upper body strength and balance made it very difficult for opposing players to stagger him while coming off of screens or attacking the basket. That’s huge for him.

Pressey also showcased long range and strong passing skills. He hit several long 2s and 3s during the week and regularly set his teammates up while orchestrating Boston’s offense.

The one negative aspect of Pressey’s game is his decision making. He turns the ball over at a high rate, having committed at least four turnovers in four of the five Orlando games. This tendency, however, is correctable. Pressey just needs to learn to avoid threading the needle and forcing the issue. If he capitalizes on the open passing lanes that are presented to him, he will drastically shrink or maybe even erase his greatest deficiency.

Vitor Faverani – Center

While watching film of Faverani, it doesn’t take long to recognize that his greatest skills exist at the offensive end. He is very capable of scoring the basketball.

Faverani has a 6-foot-11, 260-pound body and possesses everything a big man needs to be successful at the offensive end: athleticism, touch, soft hands, good feet and quick leaping ability.

Big men in the NBA need to be able to corral tough passes, particularly in the pick-and-roll, and Faverani can do so. He has also displayed great footwork, particularly on his go-to move: the drop-step from the block. He loves to dunk, which helped him make 59.4 percent of his 2-pointers last season.

Dunks are great, but what stands out most in Faverani’s offensive game is his apparent ambidexterity. He is right-handed, but has a soft touch with his left hand as well. Faverani has shown smooth mechanics on left-handed, turnaround shots off of the glass, as well as left-handed jump-hooks. His ambidexterity goes as far as blocking shots with his off-hand, which is rare.

The Synergy Sports tool agrees wholeheartedly that Faverani is a strong offensive player. It rated him as ‘very good’ at that end thanks to his 0.976 points per possession this past season. Synergy says he is ‘very good’ in post up situations, as a pick-and-roll man, and as a transition finisher. He’s also ‘excellent’ at putting home offensive rebounds.

Faverani’s scouting report takes a dip at the defensive end. Overall, Synergy rates him as ‘average’ on defense, allowing 0.88 points per possession.

Vitor Faverani defends a pick-and-roll

There are a few things that stand out when watching him on defense. First and foremost, he has the body and athleticism to be a good defender. The problem is he doesn’t use those attributes well. Faverani gives ground easily and rarely uses his arms and hands to his advantage. In fact, he can oftentimes be found using only his hips and chest to defend, with his hands hanging low to his sides.

Fortunately for him and the C’s, these are easy corrections. Good coaching will help him learn how to use his sizable frame to hold ground, and he’ll learn to have active hands on defense.

Lastly, Faverani rated out as a ‘very good’ pick-and-roll defender. That’s great news, but he’ll need to make some adjustments in the NBA.

Most NBA teams like their big men to ‘show’ on screens, meaning that they jump out above the screener to deter the guard from turning the corner untouched. As shown in the top image above, Faverani prefers to be ‘soft’ in pick-and-rolls, meaning that he drops off of the screener to take away the drive. This won’t work against bigs who can shoot, and most NBA bigs can shoot. As shown in the bottom image above, the screener will simply run a pick-and-pop for an open jumper.