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Will Celtics’ Avery Bradley get his job back when healthy?

Sep 11, 2012, 2:51 PM EDT


Avery Bradley played so well when Ray Allen was out injured last year, he meshed so well with the other starters, that when Allen returned Doc Rivers started bringing one of Boston’s big four off the bench. Bradley and Rajon Rondo looked like the Boston backcourt of the future. It was part of what pushed Allen out of Boston to Miami.

But through training camp and likely the start of this coming season Bradley is out, recovering from shoulder surgery. When the Celtics tip off the season against the Heat at the end of October it is likely Courtney Lee will be the starter at the two spot.

When Bradley gets healthy, does he get his role as a starter back?

Probably, says A. Sherrod Blakely at And like everything with the Celtics, it starts with defense.

While Lee is a solid defender, he doesn’t have the defensive game-changing ability that Bradley showcased when healthy last season…

And then there’s the fact that Bradley has earned the right to, at the very least, pick up where he left off prior to the shoulder injuries.

During Rondo’s strong play in the regular season, the C’s would often have Bradley defend the opposing team’s top guard. That took some of the defensive workload off Rondo’s shoulders, which in turn helped him and the C’s offensively.

It is possible that Lee plays so well, that the Celtics play so well with him in the lineup Rivers decides to stick with his hot hand. But smart money says Bradley gets his shot back as a starter. With the depth the Celtics have this year, Rivers can afford to experiment and let things play out a little more.

So, bet on Bradley getting to start again. But I wouldn’t bet the rent.

  1. lucidsportsfan - Sep 11, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Last year Boston was a much better team with Bradley in the starting lineup. 26-12 when he started, .500 when he did not.

    • eventhorizon04 - Sep 11, 2012 at 10:56 PM

      That doesn’t anything to do with the debate of whether Bradley re-earns the starting job now that the Celtics have a veteran like Courtney Lee at shooting guard.

      I think Bradley re-wins the job after recovering from surgery, but saying that Bradley was helped the Celtics last year doesn’t mean he’s better than Lee – Lee might help the Celtics even more this year with his better outside shooting.

  2. chicagofan - Sep 11, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    I expect Lee will become a star playing with Rondo and and will keep the #2 starter position. His corner 3 pointer percentage was 49% last yr –which was Bradley’s best spot –and only RayAllen was better. Lee’s D will improve under Doc and Bradley will have to produce off the bench. Lee’s versatility around the basket will make him a better asset than Ray or Bradley at the 2. Ultimately whether he starts or not ,is not relevant —Celtics will need all their pieces if they hope to beat Miami.

  3. drunkenjunk - Sep 11, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Bradley will start as soon as he is ready regardless.

  4. scalfor3 - Sep 11, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    makes more sense to start the defender and bring the scorer off the bench. guy frustrates wade with his defense, for christs sake

    • eventhorizon04 - Sep 11, 2012 at 10:58 PM

      Lee can play defense and score – the question is, does he become much better on the Celtics defensively than he was with the Rockets (who didn’t exactly play lock-down defense)?

      And if so, does his outside shooting (which Rondo doesn’t provide) make him a more valuable backcourt partner for Rondo than Bradley?

      • scalfor3 - Sep 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM

        pierce, garnett and bass provide enough shooting from the starting lineup. more advantageous to have that scoring punch off the bench, as he’ll be playing with lesser players.

        either way, its a good problem to have

  5. thestudiokida - Sep 11, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    There’s plenty of minutes to go around. 4 guards and 96 minutes. Rondo gets 36 leaving 20 a game for Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, and Avery Bradley. And since the Celtics are likely going to play Garnett at center there will be a few more minutes for the guards.

  6. j0esixpack - Sep 11, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Let’s hope Kurt can remember the words of A. Sherrod Blakely next time he wants to note the “advantage” the Celtics had being without Bradley in the playoffs compared to Bosh missing a handful of games

    In any event when Bradley is healthy mid season, it’s not like it’s going to be flipping a light switch. He’ll have to build up minutes so the whole instant “will he or won’t he start” question is pretty irrelevant.

    He’ll start with limited minutes and when he shows he’s at his pre-surgery level he will have earned the starting spot.

    • eventhorizon04 - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:08 PM

      I like Avery Bradley a lot. I like his potential for the future, and I’m impressed by his defensive instincts this early in his NBA career.

      That being said, anybody who honestly thinks the loss of a 2-guard defensive specialist like Avery Bradley is worse than losing a two-way 7-footer and multiple All-Star like Chris Bosh doesn’t understand basketball, at all.

      Two rules:
      1. Bigs are more valuable than guards, especially in today’s NBA.

      2. All-Stars are more valuable than non-All-Stars.

      That’s why Garnett’s +/- was the largest on the Celtics, even bigger than Rajon Rondo’s despite the fact that Rondo is the Celtics’ best player.
      Likewise for the Heat, Bosh is not the best player on the Heat, but he’s the most valuable because of he’s their only 7-footer who can contribute on both offense and defense.

      • eventhorizon04 - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:09 PM

        Heat lost Bosh for 5.5 games in the Miami-Indiana series (was lost before halftime in game 1) and for the first 4 games of the Miami-Boston series.

        That’s not “a few games.”

      • j0esixpack - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:15 PM

        Correct – for the Celtics – as even Kurt Helin has finally begun to acknowledge, not having Bradley for an entire series is an even MORE significant loss than not having Bosh for a few games.

        A recent PBT article notes that that an improved and healthy Celtics team with a 2 guard who can run with Rondo should result in MORE points, making them even more difficult to contend with than last season

        And if you recall the Celtics, playing without Bradley, and with an injured Pierce and an injured Ray Allen, played the Heat harder than the young, healthy OKC team.

        Meanwhile the Heat were fortunate to get Bosh back in time to contribute to the pivotal games of the Eastern Finals.

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