Rondo expected back in December, Bradley could fill in

Jared Wickerham

The Celtics beat writers caught up with Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens this morning at the Shamrock Foundation Golf Tournament with updates on the return of Rajon Rondo and the other players as they trickle back to Boston for training camp.

It's looking more and more likely that Rondo won't be back for the start of the season.  Earlier this summer, Ainge and Rondo were both confident that the point guard would be back for training camp, but it sounds like they'll err on the side of caution with his ACL rehab.  It makes absolute sense to be careful with the team's most important player.  Ainge reiterated that he doesn't want to trade Rondo, so it's important that they don't rush him back.  I don't foresee a Derrick Rose situation where Rondo's return becomes weekly frustration of bitter speculation.

In other news, I like everything I'm hearing about Avery Bradley.  First off, congrats to him and his family on the birth of Avery Bradley III.  It's been a tough month with the passing of his mother and I'm sure basketball is the last thing on his mind.  However, it's great that Stevens sees him as a big part of the C's going forward.  Ainge suggested that they'll talk about an extension next summer rather than before the November 1st deadline, but if he fits into Stevens' system like we're all expecting, it should be a no-brainer.

C's expect in-season return for Rondo

Earlier this summer, Bradley -- a natural shooting guard -- offered to shoulder some of the point guard duties if Rondo wasn't ready, but has struggled with pressure at times at that position, most notably during Boston's first-round playoff exit to the New York Knicks last season without Rondo.

"Avery is a guy I really believe in," said Stevens. "I think Avery has a lot of opportunity to be a very, very good player on both ends of the floor. I don't know exactly how we'll progress from here, as far as that goes with regard to if Rajon is in, who's in what role, but I know Avery will be on the court. I think he's a guy that, when you look at him on both ends of the floor, he's a guy that I think we can fit in well offensively at the point guard spot. I think he's really excited about playing it. And then, defensively, he can be elite. And so you've got one whole end of the floor where you've got an elite guy at the position and you've got to best figure out how to put him in a position to be successful."

The Bradley experiment at point guard last season largely failed because people saw him trying to do an impression of Rondo and frankly, nobody in the league has that in their golf bag.  However, as an active guard who can shoot on the perimeter and play lock down defense, AB should thrive in similar small ball lineups that Stevens run with at Butler.  With a younger roster, look for the team to run more motion that is less dependent on a ball heavy point guard...at least until Rondo returns.

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