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.
The duo has shared the floor in just 51 of 277 potential regular-season games, a mere 18.4 percent of Boston’s total contests during Bradley’s time in the league, according to the NBA’s statistical warehouse. That includes just three games this season and 11 games last year.
The Celtics will get a rare glimpse of what they hope might be their backcourt of the future when Bradley returns to the starting lineup Sunday against the Orlando Magic.
Bradley has missed the past five games because of a sprained ankle. His stint on the shelf came right after Rondo returned from missing nearly a full year because of a torn ACL. The duo briefly crossed paths in January of last year after Bradley missed the first 30 games of the season because of double shoulder surgeries, only for Rondo to be lost for the season at the end of that month.
The Bradley/Rondo tandem has logged a mere 748 regular-season minutes together, including 43 this season and 250 last year. Their 451 minutes together during the 2011-12 regular season is the biggest sample size available, and the duo put up some sexy numbers (including a defensive rating of 88 when paired together), but clearly a lot has changed since that point.
The Celtics don’t expect the Bradley/Rondo combo to be some sort of magic elixir that turns around their season, but as they gauge what the future will look like, how the pair operates together could dictate a lot about how Boston will proceed this summer. Bradley is set to become a restricted free agent and interest around the league could run up his price tag, while Rondo will enter the final year of his contract next season and the Celtics have already approached him about a contract extension that might help the team put premium pieces around him moving forward.
ESPN Boston – Practice: Rondo/Bradley tandem in focus
It’s difficult to remember sometimes just how potent the Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley combination was. Mainly because it was for such a short period of time at the beginning of an unexpected run to the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. It also wasn’t something that was supposed to happen because Doc Rivers chose Mikeal Pietrus instead of AB. If you remember, Ray Allen got clipped running his floppy pattern through a screen in Washington and injured his ankle. That triggered him missing a huge portion of the end of the 2012 season. Doc elected to go with Pietrus as his replacement in the starting lineup. That lasted for much of a brutal late season road trip until Pietrus landed hard on the Philadelphia court and sustained a major concussion. Out of options, Rivers reluctantly went with AB to start in the back court with Rondo and the results were immediate and incredible.
The run that team went on late in the season was largely due to the dynamic combo and several have argued that had the C’s had a healthy AB to defend against Dwyane Wade they would have defeated Miami (to be fair, the Heat were without Chris Bosh for the first few games of that series and were a much different team when he returned). Nonetheless, AB was gone until January 2013 and he and Rondo only lasted a month until Rondo was lost for a calendar year.
So now we get to see the duo reunited and ready to roll. It’s still not exactly a totally fair evaluation since Rondo is unlikely to be “RONNNNNNDDDDDOOOOOO!” until next season. Still, it’s a prime chance to use these remaining games as a solid gauge for the two. But one thing is certain: that mini-run the two of them had at the end of the 2012 season was remarkable and entertaining as hell to watch. A lot of people rate chemistry high on their list of importance, and these two clearly have it.
On Page 2, Kris Humphries wants to stay and help turn things around
Humphries shifted his body at the Celtics’ practice court and pointed to the 17 championship banners that ring the facility.
“You see that? It’s a winning franchise. Great management, coaching staff, and guys that work,” Humphries said. “The coaching staff is in here every off-day working hard, guys come in and they want to get better. Strength coaches and athletic trainers, everyone is sticking together and you wouldn’t think we’ve been losing a bunch of games by the way that everyone is doing their jobs. When you have an organization like that, you know that only bright things are to come.”
Humphries is confident that the Celtics will get this thing on track again eventually.
“Danny’s done it before and Brad’s had a lot of success,” Humphries said. “He’s shown us that he knows the game and he can adapt to the NBA. I think it’s just bringing everything together and it starts [Sunday versus Orlando] with winning games and trying to build from there.”
Actually, it starts in practice, where Humphries isn’t afraid to put in the work. He noted how playing time came in small doses early in his career, but Humphries credits his work ethic for keeping him in the league for the past decade
It’s not the first time we’ve heard Humphries talk like this, but it’s always cool to have him (unprompted) look and point towards the banners and speak so highly of the team and entire organization. I said it before, but he’s done a complete 180 from the way he looked/came off from his welcoming press conference to now. I’ve always liked his game and if Danny Ainge can find a way to retain him for decent dollars/years then I’d definitely want him back.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE – Humphries hoping to be part of Celtics future | Faverani to continue Boston-to-Portland commute | Blakely: Celtics seeking continuity in backcourt | Olynyk learns to make cannoli and cake | Stevens: we knew there would be tough moments