If I had told you that Rajon Rondo would miss a stretch of 7 games (and counting) and the team would have gone 5 - 2 during that stretch, well I would probably ask you for the results of the Super Bowl and run to Vegas and retire to the Caymans, but that's beside the point. What is the point is the replacement points have stepped up their games - if you can even call them point guards.
Offensively, the Celtics have been winning games almost in spite of Rondo’s replacements at the point: Avery Bradley and E’Twaun Moore. The young guards often bring the ball up the floor and make the first pass, but it’s been either Pierce or Kevin Garnett in the high post who then initiate the offensive sets.
That formula has worked well enough for the Celtics who have generally played to their offensive efficiency of 98.9 points per 100 possessions. Bradley and Moore have also had their moments offensively. Over the last four games, Moore has made 11-of-18 shots and gone 5-for-10 from 3-point range. Moore has been steady, if unspectacular, at the point with 10 assists and eight turnovers and has quickly gained the trust of the coaching staff, as well as his teammates.
That's all well and good, but Avery Bradley can't shoot, right? Then again, according to Doc, it might not be as bad as you think.
"Avery’s a better shooter than what he's shot, and we can’t figure it out, honestly," said Rivers. "He makes them in practice, he makes them in the gym when he’s working out. The only guess is that the game is still a little too fast for him. And, at some point, a ball will go in, he’ll slow down, and he’ll make the in-between jump shot. Because that’s what he can make and he can make that consistently."
Of course Forsberg pours some cold water on that optimism.
Here are the sobering facts: In 48 NBA appearances, Bradley is a mere 18 for 91 from beyond 3 feet (19.8 percent), according to HoopData. He's 1 for 10 (10 percent) from 3-to-9 feet; 0 for 6 from 10-to-15 feet; 16 for 59 (27.1 percent) from 16-to-23 feet; and 1 for 16 (6.3 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc. And it's not just the misses, it's how he's missed at times. Some of Bradley's jumpers have been unsightly at times, inspiring even less confidence than if shots simply weren't going down.
Until he proves it in the games, he'll be another point guard on the roster that can't be trusted to consistently knock down open jumpers (never mind contested ones).
So despite Irving's recent outbursts (which I think he'd have against anybody) you know that Bradley is out there for his defense and scrappiness. Moore has shown flashes of scoring and I get the feeling that Doc wouldn't mind using them in a platoon if he could. Hopefully the bench will just be that much better once Rondo returns.