Boston hasn't been a very opportunistic place for rookies since Ray and KG came to town. Win-now has rightly been valued high above develop-for-later. But when injuries happen, sometimes you are forced to look down the end of the bench and call in the kids. Semih Erden has been a surprising addition to the regular rotation and we've even seen some Luke Harangody lately. Now with Delonte out and Rondo still a little banged up, we might see a little of Avery Bradley.
That said, he turned 20 Friday and he only has three full practices under his belt. His ability isn’t a question to coach Doc Rivers, but his handle on the system is obviously missing. Rivers said he probably knows "10 percent of what we know offensively or defensively. But he can play. "I think defensively, as a player, I don’t think he’ll be a good NBA player — I think he’ll be a great defensive guard,’’ Rivers said.
That's high praise. Doc goes on to say that he could become a "lockdown defender." All of which points to the big reason why he could make an impact where guys like J.R. Giddens and Billy Walker couldn't. Defense.
Coaches love to preach to most young players that the way to get on the court is to play great defense in practice. Well, that's right in Avery's wheelhouse. He'll still have to pick up the system, but in a pinch Doc can throw him out there for short stretches and have the team run the 10 percent of the playbook (on offense and defense) that he knows - similar to the way Doc got Nate Robinson going last year.
Personally, I'm looking forward to it. It has been tough waiting for this kid to get healthy enough to get on the floor. It must be tearing him up to not be out there playing. He's finally (relatively) healthy and as the 19th pick in the draft, he comes with a higher pedigree than most of the rookies that we've seen in here the last few years. He should be able to help. Hopefully sooner rather than later.