Avery Bradley and E’Twaun Moore make their case for playing time
|12.17.11 at 5:40 pm ET|
The opening tip of the season is fast approaching and the Celtics still have to figure out their rotation, particularly who will backup Ray Allen. Veterans Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic would seem to have the inside track, but without Jeff Green they will also play small forward behind Paul Pierce.
“Somebody will win it, and we’re going to let them,” said coach Doc Rivers following last night’s open scrimmage at the TD Banknorth Garden. “We’re honest with guys. There is a spot there and not everyone is going to play it. It has been a competitive camp because of that.”
One candidate to fill the vacant role is Avery Bradley. The 2010 first round draft pick struggled earning playing time as a rookie while dealing with injuries and ineffectiveness last season. Bradley came to this year’s camp knowing there is an opportunity to contribute. However, he also knows opportunity means competition.
“I know everybody is going to be working hard for that position,” Bradley said. “I’m going to try to do everything Doc says. I know I’m going to come in grind and work hard.”
Without summer league or a full training camp, the lockout could have stunted the development of young players like Bradley, but he spent the extended offseason working out with his veteran teammates.
“I have the best teammates,” Bradley said. “I would work out with Jermaine O’Neal in Las Vegas and get [text messages] from Kevin [Garnett] checking in on me to make sure I’m working. Paul [Pierce] always invited me to [California] to help me work on my game and keep it sharp.”
Rivers praised Bradley’s ability to get to the basket and draw fouls, but he thought Bradley had trouble finding the proper rhythm during the scrimmage. “He was trying to do too much, going too fast,” Rivers said. “That’s where you see what we see.”
E’Twaun Moore is another candidate for playing time. The second round draft pick has impressed his coaches and teammates in camp, and he knocked down a 3-pointer late in the scrimmage that gave his side the lead before Bradley’s winner. Moore could have passed to Allen, but the rookie had the better look and was aggressive.
“He didn’t hesitate,” Rivers said. “That’s what I like about him.”
With the first of only two preseason games on Sunday in Toronto — every minute becomes paramount for the young Celtics.