Some nuggets on the back court:
• Gary Washburn updates us on Avery Bradley’s recovery from ankle surgery and his possible role on the team:
“I’m feeling good, taking it day by day,’’ he said. “I’ve really progressed a lot. It’s getting healthier. My ankle looks regular. I’m just rehabbing and I should be back soon.’’
Bradley, expected to play both guard positions as he grows into a more expanded role, has been working out at the Waltham practice facility and has kept in contact with Rivers, who expressed disappointment that Bradley wouldn’t be able to learn the defensive schemes until training camp.
Given the team’s depth, and Bradley falling behind because of injury, it is uncertain whether he will make an impact this season.
“It’s real tough, and I’ve never been hurt before, and that makes it tougher,’’ he said. “I’m not playing. I’m not used to doing what I do, and that makes it tough. I understand now that I need to let it heal. I look at it like I am going to come back stronger from this.’’
Washburn is right on.
I’ve said since the draft that those hoping Bradley will play a key role this season are being optimistic. Not ridiculously optimistic, since Bradley is by all accounts a menacing defender, but optimistic enough that I can’t be out there with the “Bradley will play in big playoff games” camp. He’s still just 19, he played out of position for much of his single year in college, and he’s already going to be behind in learning a complex NBA defense and a dual guard role.
This is one reason why the C’s could use another back-up guard.
• Speaking of which, Washburn drops this tidbit in his Globe piece:
Since Bradley was selected 19th overall, the Celtics have re-signed Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels and signed journeyman Von Wafer, and they are pursuing former lottery pick Larry Hughes.
Ah, Larry Hughes. A career 40.7 percent shooter with a well below-average three-point shot and an infuriating habit of taking long two-pointers outside the flow of the offense. He can be a plus defender and a creative offensive player when he’s engaged and unselfish, but signing Hughes adds another “if things go right…” player to a bench that is already crowded with such players—Nate Robinson, Shaq, Wafer, Daniels.
The reason Rudy Fernandez is an attractive option is because he has known, certain NBA skills. He will shoot around 40 percent from three-point range. He’s unselfish, and he can run the floor. He has known liabilities, too, but there is a reliability to his game these other players lack.
Of course, Portland’s asking price for Fernandez includes at least a first-round draft pick and possibly more; one report claimed the Blazers had demanded Taj Gibson from the Bulls in any Fernandez deal, a demand that derailed those trade talks.
The Celtics just may not have the assets to nab Fernandez, or they might not be willing to part with the assets Portland might want (Glen Davis, Avery Bradley).
• Speaking of wing players who are hugely overrated because they are famous, the Pistons are close to signing Tracy McGrady to a one-year minimum deal, according to Marc Stein and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.
It of course against the Pistons that McGrady reached perhaps the saddest/most embarrassing moment of his career—in 2003, when he remarked on how wonderful it felt to finally be in position to advance to the second round. Orlando led their first-round series against Detroit 3-1 at the time. They lost in seven games.
T-minus 48 hours until McGrady declares he thinks he can be a starter and add 10 wins to Detroit’s total this season.