The case for Avery Bradley as an Olympian | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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The case for Avery Bradley as an Olympian

Earlier today, I made a suggestion over on the Olympic Basketball Blog.  Rather than the NBA push for some insane 23-and-under rule for the Olympics, it can accomplish its goals by sending two separate men’s national teams to the Olympics and the NBA’s new baby, the World Cup of Basketball.

In a nutshell, it allows USA Basketball to put together a very good Olympic team that can finally be built with the international game in mind while the World Cup team can be the collection of megastars we’re used to.  This way, the Olympics are still full of NBA talent, but customized to the international game, and the World Cup is full of the superstar buzz that will draw the crowds, and dollars, the NBA so covets.

With that in mind, it seems to me that adding Avery Bradley to the Olympic team in that scenario is a no-brainer.

An Olympic squad can pick from highly skilled role players around the NBA to do the specific jobs superstars are being asked to do.  A player like Stephen Curry would be a killer in the Olympics.  A lock-down defender who can also hit open shots like Boston’s Avery Bradley would be gigantic asset for Team USA (imagine him checking Juan-Carlos Navarro in the gold medal game).  Good young bigs like Greg Monroe could combat teams with size.  Austin Rivers is a proven scorer in international competition and is already in the USA Basketball pipeline.  And Kyrie Irving could weave it all together

Let’s be honest with ourselves here:  Team USA was flawed.  It’s biggest weakness in the Olympic tournament, highlighted in the gold medal game, was its inability to stop any of the decent guards on the floor.  Spain tortured the US with penetration as the America guards gambled time and time again.  Juan-Carlos Navarro lit the US up in the first half, and if it wasn’t for a boneheaded move by Spain to leave Marc Gasol in the game with three fouls in the second quarter (he picked up a 4th before halftime, forcing him to sit until the fourth quarter), the ending might have been a little different.

Avery has proven that he’s one of the NBA’s premier perimeter defenders, and his hounding of opposing international point guards would be a huge key to American success in a re-tooled Olympic team.  We already know Rajon Rondo has no interest in participating.  And besides Bradley, the only hope for future Celtics being part of Team USA lies in, perhaps Jared Sullinger and as-yet-undrafted rookies or as-yet-unsigned free agents or traded players. 

So Bradley is it as far as Celtics we can root for in the red, white, and blue.  And gauging from the reaction around these parts, Team USA needs some Celtics influence to make them more likeable (as an aside:  You can count me out of the Team USA hate.  I say put all the NBA differences aside to root for your country.  And I’ll also add that these guys behaved beautifully, played hard, and did the country proud). 

It’s impossible not to like Avery Bradley.  And when he’s healthy, he plays a role that any team, including the Team USA, desperately needs.  As the NBA tries to put more emphasis on the World Cup with its stars, it’s time to make Bradley, and guys like him, part of a true international team that continue bringing home the gold for the U.S.

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  • krod

    before we wrote off rondo as an olympian, maybe he’ll reconsider if doc becomes coach

    • That’s not a bad point. If Doc’s coaching, he might be able to convince Rondo to take part. Plus, that’s four years from now, Rondo might change his tune entirely. But right now, I’m just going to assume he’s out. Either way, I like Bradley on the team

  • As you wrote, the main thing Team USA was missing this year was defense. That’s definitely something that any Celtic could provide to the team. This team was unlikable for several reasons, not just the lack of Celtics representation. For me, there seemed to be little dedication to defense outside of Iggy, LBJ, and Chandler. There were several cancelled practices. And the unsportsmanlike conduct of some of the guards (e.g. sackpunching). That stuff is embarrassing as an American. Wrapping it in red, white and blue doesn’t make it better.

    • kg215

      Team USA didn’t embarrass itself or the country. It always gets a little chippy but the refs handed out “bad sportmanship” fouls (2 free throws+possession) for little bumps like their lives depended on it, that’s all Batum got in fact. Spain most likely tanked to avoid the US till the end as well, if want to talk about embarrassment. Don’t get why you are trying to criticize the US when Spain is the king of flopping, and Batum punched Navarro as hard as he could in the sack.

  • Sorry, I went off tangent. Avery Bradley would be a great Olympian. He’d make any basketball and Team USA fan proud.

  • Mike Bragz

    remember what he said when he was about to get cut at the fiba team last year?

    he cares more bout the celtics than the USA team..

  • MJB

    If you Dont like Chuck What are you doing here ?

    • MJB

      My bad i was reading on the mobile version it doesnt show whos wrote the article

  • al

    forgetting the fact that you published an article supporting the non support of team USA because of “hubris”, you want a guy who’s had 30 good games in his brief career to be on said team?

    Are you honestly saying that, right now, having Avery Bradley on Team USA in would be an improvement over any other player on that roster?

    I love the Celtics and I had my qualms about Team USA’s roster, but at no point then, now or in the future would I ever even breathe the words “avery bradley” and “team usa” in the same sentence, not counting responding to this odd post.

    • A) I didn’t publish that article. We have multiple authors on this site, each with his own opinion.
      B) You clearly didn’t understand the set up to the whole thing. The whole set up is that the Olympic team would be constructed differently with guys like Bradley (and Steph Curry, and Greg Monroe) while the mega stars we’re used to focus only on the World Cup

      • kg215

        To be honest our team of megastars only beat Spain by 7 points, I think the young team you are thinking of would lose to Spain or some other experienced team. Curry/Monroe/Bradley etc. none of them are superstars and will never be superstars, and our superstars won a close game.

        • I don’t see that as an “If this, then that” scenario. Do you honestly think Juan-Carlos Navarro goes for 19 first half points if Avery Bradley was guarding him? That was the single biggest reason this was even a game early.

          Megastars won because their talent overcame the flaws that allowed Spain to even hang around. My argument isn’t Superstars shouldn’t be there. My argument is if the Superstars are saved for a World Cup, a guy like Bradley has a place in the Olympics

      • al

        I know you didn’t write that column, but it was posted on your site as a guest article. Was it to provoke discussion or did someone there agree with it because Lebron just beat the Celtics and Kobe Bryant is Kobe Bryant?

        I’m not here to hammer you over that article, even though I thought it was load of bullshit. I don’t understand how you think a group of lesser known nba players, who are much more flawed than Team USA, would compete any better against the regular National teams around the world.

        Team USA will always have trouble adjusting to the international game, due to the lack of practice and cohesion. Adding one dimensional players like Steph Curry and Avery Bradley wouldn’t have helped at all, and a seperate team of lesser NBA players would get taken apart in the olympics.

        • The idea is that these guys have specific skills that fit better together than the megastars. Those guys win because of overall talent, not necessarily because they’ve executed anything better than the other team.

          It’s pretty obvious the Spanish team has less talent than the US, yet they only lost to the mega-star squad by 7. They play so well because they fill specific roles and they’ve played together forever. If you can get the right mix of NBA non-megastar talent, you can achieve the same goal.

          And since when is Avery Bradley one-dimensional? He’s widely considered among the top few perimeter defenders in the NBA… and is certainly a better on-ball defender than anyone on that US squad. That’s a hell of an asset to have in international ball. And he has the ability to hit the 3 when he’s open. He finds ways to score.

          As for Curry… he’s going into his 4th year and, if he can keep his ankle healthy, has All Star potential. Plus, he’s already in the USA Basketball pipeline. And if you don’t think Greg Monroe is on an All Star trajectory, you’re not paying attention. Both of those guys are future stars

          • al

            I’ll agree with you on Greg Monroe, he should’ve been on the team instead of Kevin Love. Other than that, I’m still perplexed by your argument.

            Team USA beat Spain by 7 because they only had one center, and D12 was injured. Avery Bradley can’t defend either of the Gasol Brothers. Avery Bradley is a great defender, but so is Andre Igudola (sp), and Iggy can guard taller players.

            Steph Curry is a good shooter and a terrible defender. Michael Redd was on the Redeem Team and back then he was just as good of a shooter as Steph Curry, and he couldn’t get off the bench.

            I’m not down on Avery Bradley as a player, he’s got loads of potential, but he’s nowhere near an Olympian on any level right now, and to suggest that he is one reeks of homerism.

          • Well, we can just agree to disagree then. Of course I have a stronger affinity for Bradley than others because I see him every game… but I do know that others who I’ve spoken to about him in this role see how he fits. That’s fine… that’s sports… some people see the same thing, some don’t.

  • Chris

    As an Aussie, it would be easy for me to support the whole “no NBA” suggestion, even if no American journalist could name any of my country’s players besides Patty Mills.

    However, I’m a hoops fan, and I believe a country should be able to choose it’s best 12 ballers, regardless of what league they play in.

    Team USA has the great fortune to be picking from a pool of at least 50 players who could make any other nation’s team. While I’m not much a fan of LeBron or Kobe, you can’t deny that they love playing ball and representing their country. It seems that there are a bunch of guys worthy of a roster spot that would be honored to play for their country ahead of some members of the team who didn’t seem interested in playing on both ends of the floor like Avery would.

  • Chuck – Red’s Army

    I’d bet the NBA’s biggest stars would rather play in the Olympics than the World Cup. It’s a much bigger stage.

    • That may be true. But the NBA and USA Basketball set the rosters, and if they’re working hand-in-hand to emphasize the World Cup, then they’re going to send the megastars there. The question is whether the same team goes to both, or if they send two separate teams. I have no doubt that LeBron and crew are going to the World Cup in 2014… but how long will owners let their stars get overextended every two years?

  • Uh huh

    Could not disagree more on Bradley. LOVE him as an NBA player, but without all the injuries, you’ve got guys like Iggy (DWade takes his spot) Westbrook (a healthy DRose takes his spot) and whichever of Eric Gordon or James harden they pass on to play that D and do much more on your 2nd team (ignoring the OJ Mayos and others of that ilk that could take the spot and other not-yet-pro cats that may have more all-around ability). With Steph curry and another pure pg (kyrie probably) there’s no room for Bradley on this squad.

    • I’ll just say again… please refer to the initial premise of WHY Bradley would make the team. It’s because the Superstars would play EXCLUSIVELY in the World Cup and not the Olympics.

      So to repeat… the NBA, trying to emphasize the World Cup and DE-EMPHASIZE the Olympics… would send its Superstars to the World Cup AND ONLY THE WORLD CUP.

      That’s the premise. That’s the way Bradley makes the team.

  • Uh Huh

    U missed my point too tho. When everyone’s healthy, half this past USA guards would be bumped down a squad. DRose and Wade take westbrook and Iggy’s spots (putting them on the 2nd team u said Bradley’s make) then add curry and kyrie and whichever of Eric Gordon or harden doesn’t make it and that’s your Guards for the 2nd team. No room for Bradley there.

    Now if you’re saying that no one that’s ever made an all star game is eligible or whatever for the 2nd team, that’s a whole new (and insane) argument, but if not, there’s your 2nd team guards