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Your Morning Dump… Where Brad Stevens might be making his first mistake

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) September 27, 2013 Avery Bradley, Brad Stevens, Celtics News, The Morning Dump 21 Comments

bradley point guard vs toronto

 

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.

Stevens said Avery Bradley may indeed see the bulk of the point guard duties until Rondo finds his way back from offseason knee surgery.

“I don’t think there is any doubt that Avery has elite ability in a lot of ways as a point guard,” Stevens said at TD Garden yesterday morning, where he was a guest at the breakfast to promote November’s Coaches vs. Cancer college basketball tripleheader. “He’s an elite defender at the position. He’s an elite athlete at the point guard position. I think he’s a guy that’s gotten better. I think he’s a guy with more confidence, and I think he’s excited about the challenge if Rajon is out.”

Boston Herald:  Brad Stevens says Avery Bradley’s on point

In his three years as a Boston Celtic, there has been one consistent truth about Avery Bradley:  He’s not an NBA point guard.

We’ve seen that point hammered home over and over again, most recently in the last NBA basketball many of you have watched, the first round playoff loss to the New York Knicks.  Bradley was pressured into mistake after mistake.  His confidence was crushed into a fine powder and blow into the ether like dust off an old, unread book entitled “how not to use Avery Bradley in the NBA.”

Yet here the Celtics are, in much the same situation they were in the last time they took the floor: no Rajon Rondo and no immediately satisfying options to fill his void.  Who’s it going to be?

Phil Pressey?  He’s perhaps the best “point guard” of the group, but he’s very turnover prone and he’s very small.  In summer league, those two things were glaring problems.

Jordan Crawford?  Don’t make me smack you.

But since I’ve been tortured with the image of Bradley, whom I love as a player, but hate as a point guard, running this team in the past, I can’t bring myself to pencil him in as the hypothetical starter when camp breaks.  I’ve seen him struggle way too much.

“I can understand when people say he struggled because of the numbers (9.2 ppg, 40.2 percent from floor), but you can’t measure the numbers on the other end of the floor quite as well,” said Stevens. “He can impact a game like very, very few people in the NBA. I think ‘struggles’ is really a subjective term.”

Except Ray Felton torched Bradley time and time again in the playoffs because of the toll the point guard position was playing on Bradley’s mind and body.  All those minutes running the team under the pressure of the playoffs, coupled with the struggles that just magnified everything, Bradley didn’t have the same leg or mental strength to be the lock-down guy that he normally is.

But there’s one thing Stevens is hanging his hat on.

“As I’ve watched it, I didn’t think the struggles were as bad as they were made out to be. The other thing is he did that midstream. He had to make that adjustment within a system already created. Maybe we do things that fit him a bit better early that you can tweak when Rajon comes back.”

And this is the “…. but” in this conversation.

All of the things I’ve said are very true, but they’ve all been true under Doc Rivers.  Doc’s system, Doc’s play calls, Doc’s line ups… it’s all been Avery adjusting to what Doc was trying to implement with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce on the floor.

So this season, in some ways, is a bit of a fresh start for Bradey in this “point guard in Rondo’s absence” role.  Instead of him being the square peg trying to pound himself into the round hole, Stevens and his staff can work on making things match up a little better.

He has spoken, at length, about putting the right people in the right places to succeed.  So this is shaping up to be his first big test.  Can he figure out a way to make Bradley and effective NBA point guard.  Can he craft line ups and a distribution of minutes that will suit Bradley in this role without taking away from his real strengths as an elite NBA defender?

This will either be Stevens’ first mistake, or one of his first triumphs.

The rest of the links:

Globe: Brandon Bass learns to swim  |  Celtics new home is 98.5 The Sports Hub  |  College coaches think Stevens will do well in the NBA  |  CSNNE:  Humphries warming up to joining C’s  |  Celtics games move to 98.5  |  Stevens, Ainge, look to make Wallace fit C’s  |  Predicting the season for Kelly Olynyk  |  ESPN Boston:  Green means Go Time  |  C’s finalize deal with Sports Hub  |  WEEI:  C’s answer questions, create more  |  Natick Patch:  Meet Kelly Olynyk Saturday at the Natick Mall  | Yahoo:  DeMarcus Cousins gets $62 million max extension in Sacramento

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  • Philip Sampson

    I agree with allot of brad Stevens is trying to do, after all avery probably will be at the point guard position and id still take him over pressley. Lets see if brads system is better suited for avery.

  • Derron Jones

    I disagree. Lee has shown he’s a better ball handler than Bradley, and also Pressey, Brooks and J. Crawford. Brooks n Crawford may not be great passers nor play makers but Lee and Pressey sure are. In my opinion, Bradley should just continue (but no limit his self) to being a D&3 player.

  • Kahnstantine

    Part of me thinks that if the Cs can prove Bradley has value as at least a backup PG with true PG skills and ability, his trade value goes up, which might be the end game here.

    Geez, between Celtics offseason and Breaking Bad I’m starting to unravel with theories.

    • Luke Walton

      or maybe they’ll move rondo. better chance of bringing back better talent

  • Curt Hays

    I thought this was an article by Jay when I saw the length. Then when I saw the “but”, I hoped it was you, John. That IS the single difference. New environment. Thanks for not writing him off yet.

  • KGino

    It’s pretty much Bradley by default… Not much BS can do in this situation. Hopefully AB will flourish more under a new system

  • Joey

    Jeff Green can play point guard. Jeff Green can play any position.

    • Luke Walton

      : )

  • Raoul

    I actually agree with Stevens in this one. All he said is that Bradley has many strengths that make him valuable at PG such as defense and athleticism, while acknowledging his weaknesses. Stevens will make a system that works and adjusts per roster, per opponent. Bradley will also be more confident because he’s one of the leaders now, and he will be completely healthy.

  • RedsLoveChild

    As if the 2014 NBA championship hinges on the outcome of the Bradley experiment at point guard!!!

    Stevens is an innovative guy, who thinks outside-the-box. Let him tinker and experiment, as he learns his way around the NBA. Same thing applies for their younger players.

    In case anyone still has not gotten the memo…the Celts {by design} are not seeking more than 20-25 wins this coming season. There`s a legitimate reason why they made minimal effort to replace guys like KG, PP. It`s called the 2014 Draft.

  • Suarez

    In hindsight, Bradley’s mistakes may have been amplified because he was playing on a team with its sights set on contending in the playoffs. A lot of those mistakes would be considered growing pains if they were made playing for a team that’s developing talent.

    Why not give this guy another shot at it, with a little less pressure, and see what happens?

  • Luke Walton

    courtney lee and ab are your backcourt starters, no?

  • Luke Walton

    moving up front, we got jared and sully, and what, KO?

  • Luke Walton

    which gets me back to thinking, i just don’t see a place for rondo on this team. he has trade value, and thus will be packaged to bring back some grade A talent

    • Dustin Chapman

      Trade Rondo for a talent that….. you hope some day becomes as good as Rondo?

      • Luke Walton

        Trade rondo for a player who by himself can make difference in outcome of big games

  • Lee in Oregon

    Just my opinion but AB is a disaster at PG. How many times did he lead a break only to make a poor decision at the end? By the end of last season the kid’s confidence seemed completely shot. Unless this is an attempt at getting ping-pong balls, I don’t think it’s going to go well. Let AB play the 2, and Pressey starts. .

    • david

      Agreed, and I think since this team is going to suck the first few months anyways I’m fine with them experimenting. Hopefully once Rondo comes back and Pressey becomes serviceable the Avery Bradley at point guard thing will be just be a bad dream.

  • Dustin Chapman

    I don’t think starting Bradley at point guard while Rondo is out would be “Stevens’ first mistake.” Look at the roster. Like you said… Phil Pressey? Jordan Crawford? Courtney Lee? I would rather start Bradley with a bigger wing than Pressey and Bradley together.

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