Free agent primer: Shooting guardscombo guards

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Free agent primer: Shooting guardscombo guards

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

With Chicago's Game 4 loss to Miami on Tuesday night, the Boston Celtics hold the distinction of being the only team this past season to not suffer three or more consecutive losses. That success means nothing right now, not with the Celtics watching the playoffs unfold.

The C's aren't in a revisionist mood now.

Instead, it's all about rebuilding for the upcoming season.

Among the areas the Celtics will look to shore up this summer will be finding a backup shooting guard for Ray Allen.

Boston could address the position via next month's NBA draft, but a more likely route will be through free agency.

Here are some of the top free agent shootingcombo guards available this summer.

Top available shootingcombo guards (team they played with last season): Jamal Crawford (Atlanta); Von Wafer (Boston); Rasual Butler (Chicago); DeShawn Stevenson (Dallas); Arron Afflalo (Denver); Rodney Stuckey (Detroit); Leandaro Barbosa (Toronto); Delonte West (Boston); Michael Redd (Milwaukee); Marco Belinelli (New Orleans); Roger Mason (New York); Eddie House (Miami); Anthony Parker (Cleveland); Daequan Cook (Oklahoma City); Mo Evans (Washington); Nick Young (Washington)

-restricted free agents

Best of the bunch: Crawford, Barbosa, Young, Stevenson and Afflalo.

Best fits for the C's: Crawford, Barbosa, West.

Why Crawford?
The Celtics are in the market for a player who can carry them through those inevitable scoring droughts. There's no better free agent on the market this summer to do just that, than Crawford. The 31-year-old has spent the past two seasons coming off the bench in Atlanta where he averaged 18 points and 14.2, respectively. To have a player with his knack for delivering instant offense would be a huge plus for the C's moving forward.

Why Barbosa?
He can play some at the point, but his strength whenever he's on the floor is that of a scorer. A career 12.7 points per game scorer, the 28-year-old also has the kind of speed that few players in the NBA possess. For a team looking to run more, Barbosa could be a huge asset coming off the bench. The biggest knock against Barbosa has been staying healthy. Out of a possible 246 games the past three seasons, Barbosa has played in 172, or 69.9 percent, of them.

Why West?
There isn't a single player on the free agent market at this position more familiar with Doc Rivers' system here in Boston. Like most of the C's this past season, West spent a considerable amount of time out with injuries. West probably helped himself more with his playoff performance than any other Celtics players, which means he'll likely have quite a few suitors this summer. But you have to believe that the way the C's stuck by him through his off-the-court issues heading into last season, that loyalty will be rewarded in West re-signing with the club that originally drafted him in 2004.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

BOSTON – Wednesday’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks was the fifth time in the last six games that Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley was out because of a right Achilles injury.

Well, it appears the 6-foot-2 guard may miss a few more with this injury.

“I can see him missing a little more time,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said following Wednesday’s loss. “I just think maybe he came back a little bit too early, whatever the case may be.”

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Bradley was expected to play against the Knicks, but was a last-minute scratch.

Celtics big man Al Horford said he didn’t find out Bradley was out until the team was on the floor doing pre-game warmups and he didn’t see him.

“He was really sore,” Stevens said of Bradley. “Went through our walk-through and then came on to the court and did some stuff and was more sore today than he has been. I think he did treatment the whole game.”

This latest setback for Bradley is part of a growing narrative that has dogged him throughout his career which has included him missing games to injury in each of his six-plus NBA seasons.

Bradley came into this season once again hoping to be as injury-free as possible, only to see that dream dashed with this right Achilles strain he's suffering with currently.

Still, there’s no downplaying the significance and value the Celtics have in the 26-year-old. This season, he is second on the Celtics in scoring at 17.7 points per game and leads them in rebounds with 6.9 per game with both being career highs. In addition, he averages just under 35 minutes per game which is also tops on the team.

Marcus Smart has been Stevens’ choice to replace Bradley in the starting lineup when Bradley has been unavailable, and that’s not likely to change between now and Saturday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers.