Celtics say Bradley's time will come . . . but not necessarily right now

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Celtics say Bradley's time will come . . . but not necessarily right now

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

Avery Bradley turns 20 years old Friday.

He knows he still has a lot to learn - both on and off the court - and he isn't going to rush anything.

Even though the injury to Delonte West (broken wrist) could open up playing time for the Celtics rookie, he is finding the balance of staying ready and being patient.

"My teammates are the ones that help me out with that the most," Bradley said. "They're telling me to always be ready, but at the same time, don't try to go if I can't. So I would have to say my teammates are the ones who really help me balance those two."

Bradley made his NBA debut less than a week ago against the Atlanta Hawks, scoring two points in six minutes. He had been hampered by ankle injuries since the summer, and the Celtics didn't want to risk further problems by rushing him back on the court.

Now that a spot has opened up in the rotation, that doesn't mean Bradley will automatically see a drastic increase in minutes, though. The Celtics have options in their backcourt (see Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels) who can account for West's minutes while Bradley continues to develop.

"I was talking about it today for Avery," Doc Rivers said on Wednesday following West's injury against the New Jersey Nets. "I think assistant coach Lawrence Frank or assistant coach Kevin Eastman said he's been through three full practices this season, including training camp. And he's a rookie, and we're going to throw him on the floor? So we may, at times play Bradley, but we've just got to protect him. We don't want to ruin him. And he's not healthy yet. Not great health."

While Bradley understands the importance of waiting, he has found it frustrating at times. Bradley, who was selected by the Celtics with the 19th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, averaged 29.5 minutes last season at the University of Texas.

But this is the NBA, and he knows being patient is part of the transition on a championship-contending team.

"Usually I was starting at every level when I was young," he said. "But I just take it as a learning process. I'm just excited that I'm even in the NBA and feel blessed to be here. I'm just anxious to get better, and when my chance comes I'll be ready."

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

WALTHAM, Mass. – As the final horn blew in Boston’s 108-98 win over Charlotte on Monday night, the game was a win-win kind of night for Avery Bradley.

The Celtics (26-15) continue rolling over opponents at the TD Garden, and he played a relatively pain-free 33 minutes in the win.

It was Bradley’s first game back after missing the previous four with a strained right Achilles injury.

And the fact that he was back on the practice floor on Tuesday (be it a light practice, mind you), bodes well for his injury being a thing of the past now.

“I felt good. It wasn’t sore at all in the game,” Bradley said. “I felt I was moving good. After the game I was a little sore and this morning, but otherwise I felt good.”

Despite Boston being 4-1 this season when Bradley doesn’t play, he has immense value to this Celtics team at both ends of the floor.

Offensively he has been Boston’s second-leading scorer most of this season and currently averages a career-high 17.7 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds which is also a career high.

And defensively, Bradley is coming off a season in which he was named to the NBA’s all-Defensive First Team for the first time.

Any questions or concerns about the Achilles affecting his play defensively were put to rest Monday night when he put the defensive clamps on Nicolas Batum who missed nine of his 11 shots from the field while primarily being guarded by Bradley.

Now his offense, that’s another story.

Bradley failed to reach double digits scoring for the first time this season as he missed seven of his nine shots on Monday to finish with just five points.

But part of that had to do with Bradley passing up shots he normally takes, as well as him missing some he normally knocks down.

Considering his lay-off and the rhythm his teammates have been in shooting the ball in his absence, Bradley wisely decided to get his defensive bearings on track and gradually bring his offensive game around. 

“I have to get my (shooting) rhythm back,” said Bradley who is making a career-best 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers this season. “I’m fine. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”