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News » Pruitt bleeds for Celts

Pruitt bleeds for Celts

Pruitt bleeds for Celts
ORLANDO, Fla. - Gabe Pruitt is here to get noticed - especially by those making decisions on his own team - and no sight is more graphic than how the point guard has left the gym after the last three summer league games.

Pruitt has edged out of the locker room each time with a pair of clear plastic ice bags strapped to his knees. There is a garish splash of red on each bag - the result of blood.

Coach Doc Rivers and general manager Danny Ainge have told Pruitt they want to see more aggression from him. In truth, they have harped Pruitt about this need, or demand.

So Pruitt has spent a lot of time on the floor, which has aggravated and reopened those cuts this week, and up until his brush with Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook on Wednesday night, Pruitt got the better of each matchup.

``Russell Westbrook is the best point guard here, but after that you could make the argument that Gabe is next on the list,'' said Celtics assistant Mike Longabardi.

But that's not enough. The Celtics rotation is filling up, but there is a sliver of opportunity at backup point guard. Pruitt hasn't seized the job, because of the aforementioned aggression issue. He's a nice guy.

``Where's he from?'' asked one NBA scout on Tuesday night. ``Southern California? That explains it. I'm from Brooklyn, where they don't allow you to be nice.''

So Pruitt has to battle perceptions, perhaps the worst from within his own team. There's also the misdemeanor DUI charge he picked up in Hollywood after playing the Clippers last season. This happened the day before the Celtics signed Stephon Marbury.

No one on the team has talked to Pruitt about that incident since the day after it happened.

``They realize that people make mistakes, and they're pretty understanding as long as it doesn't happen again,'' he said. ``Now it's up to me to stay clean and show what I can do.''

But Pruitt also blames his bad decision - as much as Marbury's arrival - for a loss of opportunity that he now hopes to regain.

``It happened at a time when I was getting quality minutes, and then we got Stephon and I took a back seat,'' he said. ``It all kind of limited me. So now I'm taking it careful and cautious. This is a real big summer for me. I'm just doing what I need to do.

``The only thing I feel I'm doing wrong now is that I'm rushing my shot, but overall it's been good.''

But the margin for error remains thin. The Celtics have until Aug. 1 to pick up the option on the last year of Pruitt's contract.

And then there's Rivers - forever the soundtrack of Pruitt's NBA existence.

``It's good to have a coach who's been a point guard, because he knows what it's like,'' said Pruitt. ``He knows it's a difficult position to play, and he's the guy I can learn from.''

Rivers also has expectations that are difficult to meet, with about three weeks until the Celtics have to make a decision.

So Pruitt will scrape his knees on the floorboards again today on the last day of summer league. He'll show some blood with his ice.

``There's times when (assistant coach) Armond (Hill) will come up and say, `I want to see you do what you did in training camp your rookie year (in Rome),' '' said Pruitt.

There's also something Pruitt wants to see.

``I would like to see myself in the rotation,'' he said. ``It would be nice to play in games when it counts.''


Author: Fox Sports
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Added: July 11, 2009


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