Rob Mahoney of SI does a nice job of dismissing the "are the Celtics better without Rondo" talk in a recent post. He correctly gives credit to the Celtics improved defense and in the process he points out something that makes a lot of sense. Avery Bradley makes everyone better on defense, especially the big guys behind him.
Yet almost 20 games into Boston’s revival, Bass and Wilcox both are filling vital minutes and defending far better than expected. They each deserve credit for the positive trend in their performance, but Bradley makes the job of both players easier by gambling less often than Rondo and allowing fewer dribble-penetrators to attack the basket. Bass and Wilcox have been better, but it’s Bradley’s perimeter defense that reduces the number of times that either big has to rotate to help.
This trickle down effect impacts everyone on the court and makes Bradley one of the most valuable Celtics going forward.