Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“I like his skill set, but honestly I’m concerned about our backup point; I thought so far, the way we’ve played, Jason Terry is handling the ball a lot,” Rivers said before the Celtics’ 105-75 win over Emporio Armani Milano Sunday. “I don’t want that. I want him to be a scorer and I think him handling the ball takes away his best ability. And as a staff, we have to figure out something better for him. Courtney Lee the same way, I don’t want him overhandling it either, and right now with Avery [Bradley] out, we’re kinda stuck.
“We have to figure that one out as a staff and put them in better spots, and I think that is on us more than them. But when Avery comes back, when those four guys come together, that’s a pretty good crew. I would say the best guard crew I’ve had since I’ve been in Boston.”
1: Avery Bradley should not be your back up point guard. Unless those shoulder surgeries magically give him a better handle, I’m not comfortable with that. Besides, Bradley is your starting two-guard… unless Doc suddenly has other plans.
I would caution Doc and the rest of the staff to reconsider any use of Avery Bradley to back up Rondo. Remember your own words from April, Doc:
“It just takes time for guys to figure out who they are, and it takes us time as a staff to figure out who he is,” said Rivers… “It does go both ways. The one thing, if we did make one mistake, it was forcing him at the point guard. That just robbed him of his confidence.”
Just because you’re in a situation now without Dooling to be your primary back up at the 1… and just because you now have a couple of two-guards in Lee and Terry that are pretty good… let’s be careful what we do here with Avery.
His effectiveness comes from (a) defending the toughest of the two perimeter matchups which involves not just being an on-ball wrecking crew, but mucking things up enough for Rajon Rondo to do what he does best… roam like a free safety and pick off passes… and (b) playing off the ball and cutting to the basket or finding his way into the corner for 3. That’s where Avery was at his best. That’s where he should be playing.
That leaves things up to Jamar Smith and Dionte Christmas, neither of whom has done a ton to say “yes, I deserve a spot on this team.” Neither has also done enough to warrant a cut yet, either. So it’s all still very fluid.
So the Celtics either need to play Rondo 40 minutes a game… which will wear on him because that’s a lot of minutes to be playing for anyone. Or they need to play Terry and Lee together a lot and let them take turns initiating the offense. OR, they work a rotation where Paul Pierce is in with Lee and/or Terry and they just let Pierce play the role he normally plays when Rondo is out with an injury.
They’ve got to do something, anything, other than put Avery Bradley at the point. That’s been proven not to work.
2: I don’t know if this is intentional or not, but Doc and Rondo have both said in recent days something about this being the best team they’ve had. In that quote, Doc calls this “the best guard crew” in his Boston tenure. This weekend Rondo said this is “the most talent” he’s had since he’s been a Celtic.
Both quite bold statements, especially when you consider who’s NOT part of this guard crew anymore.
Now… I’m not trying to make too much of this. But I do find it interesting that these superlatives are being used now while Mr. Walter Ray is in South Beach.
Maybe they do honestly think that. This is a talented bunch, and even with Ray on the 2008 title team, they didn’t have the depth of Terry, Lee, and Bradley. Plus, this Rondo is so much better than 2008 Rondo. So I can buy that argument.
I just love how it’s coming out. It’s almost as if to say “sorry Ray… but, we’re doing quite alright without you.”
The rest of the links:
Globe: Sullinger is comfortable | Rivers tackles mind games | Wilcox (back) could have MRI in Boston | Fashion a big part of Rondo’s game off the court | ESPN Boston: Rookie Sullinger starts strong | Rapid reaction: Celtics 105 Armani 75 | All boats rising in the Atlantic | WEEI: What we learned from the second preseason game | Herald: Style points for Rondo | Italian fans get their Irish up for visitors | Pierce faces his world audience