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Avery Bradley's defense has been sorely missed so far this season.
Avery Bradley? There's nothing surprising about Bradley this season is there? After all, he hasn't even played a game yet.
That's true, but what is surprising is just how difficult his defensive presence has been to replace.
As of now, the Boston Celtics rank 18th in points allowed and 21st in opponents field goal percentage.
Those aren't the type of defensive numbers that Celtics fans have become used to under head coach Doc Rivers.
It is not all due to Bradley's absence. Kevin Garnett is starting at center, and the power forward position has been unsettled with both Brandon Bass and rookie Jared Sullinger splitting time.
The backup for Kevin Garnett has also been an issue, Chris Wilcox has been serviceable, but has not impressed. Jason Collins and Darko Milicic have been either injured, or buried on the bench.
Nonetheless there is no question that the Celtics miss Bradley's defense on the court. He didn't supplant veteran Ray Allen last spring because of his shooting. It was because of his defense.
To this point Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa have all spent time at the shooting guard position. The scoring has been OK but not as good as the Celtics would have hoped. The defense has been a noticeable drop-off from what Bradley brought to the table.
The Celtics aren't playing great defense so far in this young season. It is not all because of Avery Bradley's absence, but it is surprising that Bradley's injury has impacted the team as much as it has.