With Rajon Rondo out for the season to rehab his torn ACL, the Boston Celtics have had to make some changes to their starting lineup. Avery Bradley will now run the point guard position, pairing up with guard Courtney Lee, a member of the bench for many games prior to Rondo’s injury.
Even though they’re missing their star point guard, the Celtics will prevail. They’ve proven this in the past few games in which they’ve played with gusto without Rondo. Led by Bradley, the Boston Celtics will still remain a strong NBA team.
When Avery Bradley returned after shoulder surgery, he and Rondo meshed quite well on the court. They ran a fast offense and worked well to pass to one another and keep the ball moving at a consistently fast pace.
While Rondo is out, Courtney Lee is a perfect replacement for Bradley’s partner on the court. Lee is fast and plays off Bradley very well.
Bradley noted their teamwork, following the Celtics’ tremendous 99-81 win over Sacramento on January 30. “We definitely complement each other on the defensive end and the offensive end,” he said. “We’re both able to bring the ball up, and on defense, when I’m pressuring a guy and I get tired, Courtney pressures him. He complements me a lot. He’s a great player, a great teammate.”
Avery Bradley is a team player; he’s not planning on running the court himself and hogging the ball. He passes well and is aware of his teammates, a fact made clear by his statistics. For instance, Bradley had two assists in each of the last three games without Rondo.
After the win against Sacramento, Bradley emphasized the importance of teamwork to the new Celtics starting lineup: “Everybody passes the ball. Everybody makes plays for each other. Rondo made it easy for everybody, so now we have to make it easier as a team, getting the ball to our playmakers. The ball moved a lot tonight, and everybody played well.”
When Bradley was out for the start of the 2012-13 season rehabbing his shoulder, his speed on offense was greatly missed. He runs with Rondo and maintains a fast-paced offense that produces scoring opportunities.
So too does Bradley shine on defense. He is an aggressive defender, playing close to his opponent and never slacking off. He also watches out for steal opportunities; he averages 1.1 steals per game and he had two steals in the Sacramento game.
Without Rondo, Boston needs a fast, aggressive player at point guard. Avery Bradley is the perfect candidate, and with Lee’s complimentary speed, he will make up for the loss of Rondo considerably.
Even without Rondo, the Celtics bench has plenty of players to handle the ball and take over the point position. Paul Pierce can try his hand at point, and sharpshooter Jason Terry can also take the reins when Bradley needs help.
Paul Pierce noted the need for the team to take turns with the ball following the Sacramento game: “Everybody’s going to have expanded roles.” Pierce continued, “A little more ball-handling out of Courtney Lee, a little bit more ball-handling out of myself, more out of Avery, Jason Terry. A lot of guys have a little bit more responsibilities now, and they’ve got to be responsible with it. Everybody played the right way—no one felt like they had to take all the shots tonight, we all moved the ball. That’s how we have to play for the rest of the season.”
With veterans like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett watching their minutes, Avery Bradley certainly has age in his favor. The point guard is only 22 years old and he’s been playing for the Celtics for his young two-year NBA career.
Though he had some problems with his shoulder in his debut season, his injury seems to have been resolved by the surgery he underwent at the end of last season. Bradley is young, healthy and completely capable to take over the point guard position, especially if that means picking up more minutes of fast-paced basketball.