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Irish Coffee: The case for Avery Bradley breaking out

10.19.11 at 2:16 pm ET

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While his Celtics teammates await the end of the NBA lockout for structured basketball to resume, backup point guard Avery Bradley could make his Israeli basketball debut as soon as Sunday.

That experience — combined with his participation in the Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series — will leave Bradley with perhaps more competitive basketball under his belt during the lockout than any other NBA player should the lengthy collective bargaining mediation sessions ever result in an actual season.

But will it help him contribute to the Celtics if and when NBA basketball resumes? Bradley certainly thinks so. Here’s what he told Eurobasket in a recent interview:

  • On the offseason: “I’m in great shape. I played in the pro-am games and in the Impact League in Las Vegas, so basically I work out all the time and I always make sure I’m ready to play.”
  • On playing abroad: “Honestly, what I want most it to keep playing basketball, and Jerusalem sounded like the best possibility.”
  • On the lockout: “The players and owners are doing whatever they can to end the situation we’re in. No one wants the lockout, everybody wants the same thing — for it to be over. Until then, I’m with Jerusalem and my focus is on helping out the team in any way possible.”

And for what it’s worth, I think Bradley is poised for a breakout season of sorts (hard to truly break out when playing behind Rajon Rondo, but still …). Let’s not forget he hasn’t even hit his 21st birthday (Nov. 26).

After a disappointing freshman season at the University of Texas — during which he averaged just 11.6 points and 2.1 assists in 29.5 minutes over 34 games — Bradley has held his own in the NBA Development League (17.1 points and 5.2 assists in 32.2 minutes over nine games) and the so-called Lockout League this summer.

But outside of a spectacular 20-point flash of brilliance in the Celtics’ regular-season finale, Bradley has yet to flourish in green. So why should anyone have confidence in him? For starters, of the nine guards who achieved top-five status on ESPNU’s high school basketball recruit rankings from 2007-09, Bradley is the only player yet to make an impact in the association — and he was ranked No. 1 overall in 2009.

Here are the other eight guards on that list, the year they graduated high school, their recruit ranking and the most significant NBA accomplishment of their young careers:


2. Eric Gordon: Averaged 22.3 points per game in 2010-11, despite battling injuries.

3. O.J. Mayo: Has averaged double-digit points in each of his three NBA seasons.

5. Derrick Rose: Named 2010-11 NBA Most Valuable Player. Enough said.


1. Brandon Jennings: Unanimous 2009-10 NBA First Team All-Rookie selection.

3. Tyreke Evans: Named 2009-10 NBA Rookie of the Year after averaging 20.1 points.

4. Jrue Holiday: Started all 82 games at point guard for the eighth-seeded Sixers this past season.


3. Xavier Henry: Started 16 games for a Grizzlies team that almost reached the conference finals.

5. John Wall: Finished second behind Blake Griffin in 2010-11 NBA Rookie of the Year voting.

Really, there are only two outcomes that could stem from Bradley’s NBA career going forward: 1) He becomes a valuable contributor to the C’s future, either as a member of the team or as a trade chip; or 2) He’s the biggest guard bust in recent memory. For the Celtics’ sake, let’s hope it’s the former and not the latter.


According to separate Herald reports, no Celtics players participated in the 16-hour marathon mediation session between NBA owners and players on Tuesday, but C’s co-owner Wyc Grousbeck is present this week.

A group of owners led by Grousbeck is expected to make their recommendation on the revenue sharing issue on Wednesday, according to one Herald report. Reportedly one of the owners willing to lose the entire 2011-12 NBA season earlier this summer, Grousbeck has been rumored to have backed off that stance in recent weeks.

From the Herald’s source: “He’s been pretty quiet. Put it this way: He’s certainly not as involved verbally as he was in previous years.”

Meanwhile, Steve Bulpett also reported that Kevin Garnett‘s involvement in labor discussions has been predictably overblown.


Chris Sheridan shared a number of interesting tidbits from the “City of Brotherly Love vs. Chocolate City” exhibition this past weekend, via a reader’s e-mail. Among them were two notes on Celtics restricted free agent Jeff Green: 1) While Louis Williams finished with 53 points — mostly on Duke product Nolan Smith — Green shut Williams down in his limited time guarding the 76ers guard; and 2) Green politely declined a “huge, fat man’s” offer of some weed wrapped in a $5 bill, saying, “Uhh, no thanks man.” …

Celtics captain Paul Pierce was spotted playing pickup with a group of 15 NBA players in his hometown of Los Angeles, including Jazz rookie center Enes Kanter, Timberwolves rookie point guard Ricky Rubio, Pacers forward Danny Granger, Bulls center Joakim Noah and Cavaliers forward Omri Casspi. …

In a Q&A with The New York TimesShaquille O’Neal revealed that the biggest regret of his NBA career was missing more than 200 games due to injuries. He missed 45 of those as a member of the Celtics this past season. Shaq also addressed the most recent Kobe Bryant comments about his work ethic (“I don’t need to work out. My numbers speak for itself.”) and his desire to bring a team to Newark, N.J. (“The Nets? I don’t know who the Nets are.”). …

In a separate Times piece about Lakers legend Jerry West‘s autobiography, in which The Logo reveals his lifelong bout with depression, the ever-classy Celtics legend Bill Russell relayed to West: “If I could have one wish granted, it would be that you would always be happy.” …

Speaking of legendary Celtics centers, we’ll leave you with Nenad Krstic dancing The Macarena in Russia (via SLAM). And you thought The Macarena was dead …

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’€™s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, nenad krstic, Paul Pierce
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