Over at the Boston Herald, Mark Murphy has an excellent feature on Rajon Rondo and the impact he believes Avery Bradley will have in his return to the Celtics.
From the Herald:
“A couple of guys last year had things to say,” [Rondo] said. “It’s kind of funny. (Bradley) would finally get out of the game, and I would come in, and they would almost seem relieved — I don’t know if that was an insult to me, or just a credit to the defensive player that he is.”
Perhaps Rondo’s good humor is stoked by one absolute belief concerning Bradley.
“We’re going to be a completely different team, just with one player coming back,” said Rondo, whose frustration and desire for a change in the Celtics’ 13-13 start couldn’t be more feverish.
And then there’s this corollary to the last comment: “I think (Bradley is) the X Factor. He’s going to be the key to why we win the championship. He brings a lot to the team in terms of intangibles, the way he cuts offensively. His pressure defensively is going to raise everyone else’s pressure. His defense is going to make us a lot better.”
Rondo is an incredibly confident player, sometimes in the face of all logic. He has, for example, taken nearly twice as many 3-pointers per 36 minutes this season while averaging nearly the exact same percentage as last season. He has somewhat brashly called the Celtics the best team in the league before. And here, he says that the Celtics WILL win the championship, and it will be because of Avery Bradley.
Celtics fans are, of course, looking for something, anything, that we can hang our “We are still contenders” hats on, and those of us who aren’t advocating for a trade are draped all over the “Wait until Bradley comes back” hat-rack. There was such a notable improvement last year when Bradley returned (and when Kevin Garnett moved to center) that we can’t help but believe that the C’s might be able to turn themselves around upon his return. Rondo seems to share that belief.
It’s also worth noting that although Rondo is confident, he rarely raves about other players the way he does about Bradley here. Rondo is funny and candid, but also extremely complimentary talking about both Bradley’s defensive intensity (and the way it will affect his teammates) and his ability to cut to the basket, an asset Rondo is undoubtedly anticipating impatiently. One can only set up so many jumpers for teammates before one wishes for surer assists, you know.
We will have much more on the impending return of Avery Bradley, but just know that Rajon Rondo couldn’t be more excited.
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