While the Celtics work through their rotation issues, another piece was added to the mix today with Avery Bradley returning to practice. While it is still estimated that his return will be in early January, it does open up the discussion of minute distribution, specifically at shooting guard.
The Celtics primary problem this year has been rebounding, much of which has stemmed from forced rotations from the Boston bigs when. Instead of going through the sequence of all that happens when a guard penetrates into the paint, just know that it is bad, and Avery Bradley is the perfect player to fix that problem. When asked about the prospect of Bradley joining the starting unit once healthy enough to play, Doc responds (via Sulia):
“Yeah (but) he’s got to get it,” Rivers said of Bradley eventually returning to the starting lineup. “But he’ll have to earn that and get it but I think on paper, it looks better. But you have to wait and see how it works once he gets back.”
Now that we have the Avery Bradley return giddiness out of the way, he also addressed some of the current minute distribution questions facing the Celtics:
“I want Jason off the bench. You could see how well he’s playing now. He’s comfortable there,” Rivers said. “We’re just keep starting Courtney or whoever. I like Jason off the bench. I don’t think it helps the starting lineup right now but you put him on the starting lineup and then our bench struggles. It’s one or the other.
“Honestly, Jason and Courtney are really great in the second unit together. They really move the ball. The last three or four games our second unit has really come in and made runs for us.”
Seems as though Doc is hinting that if Bradley is anywhere near the expectations we in the blog-o-sphere have set for him, he will be in the starting unit moving Lee and JET to the second unit together. It will be interesting how this team shapes up entering the trade deadline, as Bradley’s recovery should have a great impact on who is expendable and who is not.