Celtics mailbag: Avery Bradley’s offensive potential, Rondo’s future

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August is a boring time to be an NBA fan. The draft is done, free agency has slowed, and training camp is still weeks away. It’s a good window for an NBA writer to sit on a beach somewhere.

Outside of the release of the 2013-14 schedule Tuesday night, there’s little immediate news to share. That hasn’t stopped your questions from flowing in. The Celtics are very much a team in flux, and interest remains high. Below are the latest missives sent into the Celtics mailbag. You can ask your question anytime.

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Why in the world are people fixated on trading Rondo? He is one of the best point guards in basketball! Throughout the C’s recent history they have searched for someone to man the point. This kid is primed to be the leader of a young team. All he has done is win an NBA championship….he didn’t get enough credit for that happening.

Danny….please don’t trade him…all the other moves were great….don’t ruin them with this rumored move.
Dave, Ashland

I agree with you, Dave. Writers in other markets tell me that outside of Boston, the notion of trading Rajon Rondo for anything less than full value is absurd. They’re shocked when they learn just how polarizing a figure Rondo is here, and they’re even more shocked when they hear just how many fans want to run him out of town.

Rondo is the undisputed best player on the current Celtics roster. As much as he was aided by being a part of the New Big Three Era, he hasn’t gotten nearly enough credit for his role in it. He’s an electric talent, a dynamic personality, and a player who makes everyone around him better. He’ll make it really interesting this season if he’s healthy from Day 1. That being said, if the Celtics can get a combination of young players and choice draft picks for Rondo, of course they’re going to take it. That doesn’t mean he should be run out of town, though.

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Does Avery Bradley have the potential to have a big season offensively? What would his point average, shooting percentage, and assist average be if he did have a big offensive season?
Paul, Agawam

Like this question, Paul. Here are Basketball Reference’s projections for Bradley:

— 12.4 points, 44 percent shooting, 2.6 assists, 34.3 percent 3-point shooting

Here’s what I think a “big” season would look like:

— 14.4 points, 48 percent shooting, 2.6 assists, 37.5 percent 3-point shooting

The key really is Bradley’s shooting percentage. In 64 games during his sophomore season Bradley shot 49.8 percent from the field. He seemed poised for a breakout last season, but his shooting percentage plummeted to 40 percent. A little more accuracy should increase his scoring output. It should also give him more playing time. Bradley’s defense will give him a chance, but his offense will make him indispensable. At just 22-yeas-old, I still think he has it in him to be a very good player.

One big I really like is DeMarcus Cousins, and it seems to me like he would be a good fit for the Celtics. He’s young, athletic, and above all he needs a fresh start. What do you think the Celtics would have to give up to make it work?
Mitch, Sharon

With a stockpile of draft picks and young players like Rondo, Bradley, and Sullinger, the Celtics have what it takes to get Cousins. The question is: Do you want to build your team around DeMarcus Cousins? As talented as Boogie is, he’s proven to be a headache for coaches and teammates. The Big Three Celtics might have absorbed a personality like that and taken the bad with the good, but a young, impressionable team is not the place for him.

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Rebounding, particularly offensive rebounding, was one of the Celtics’ biggest weaknesses last season. Without Kevin Garnett, but with several new centers and power forwards, how well do you think the Celtics will rebound this season?
Paul, Agawam

Rebounding has been a weakness for the team since the 2010-11 season. They ranked outside the top 20 in the stat the last two seasons. Part of that was due to personnel, and part of that was systemic. Garnett is a good defensive rebounder but rarely crashed the offensive boards. Jared Sullinger should help. Kris Humphries and Kelly Olynyk, too. Outside of Brazilian center Vitor Faverani, however, the Celtics don’t seem to have any true centers who will crack the rotation. In addition, Jeff Green is undersized when playing power forward, and he figures to play a lot of minutes. It’s hard to rebound by playing small. Rebounding could be a weakness again this season.


Do you think Rondo will be on the Celtics next championship team? I see a lot of similarities to him and Pierce when pierce was at this stage of his career. (Lone superstar on a bad team and a bit of a hot-head back then)
Nate, Sharon
Love the Pierce comparison, Nate. Unfortunately, the odds are against Rondo’s Celtics career arcing in the same way Pierce’s did. It’s going to be a bit before the Celtics get back to contention. One scenario in which that could happen is if Rondo sticks out this season, the Celtics get the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, and Andrew Wiggins immediately turns into the star people say he’s going to be. Free agents would be attracted to a team like that. A lot has to go wrong, then right, for that to play out, however.
If you’re asking me if I’d to see Rondo on the Celtics’ next championship team, my answer is absolutely. He’s a great player. He’ll win another one somewhere, would be fun to see him do it here.
What happens if Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker both opt to stay in college for more than their freshman years?
Isaac

Then you’re going to see a lot of disappointed fans of bad teams, Isaac. You’re right, there’s no guarantee these players leave for the NBA after one season. That’s why tanking is a shot in the dark.
When does the DA magic happen? How do we get a center that can rebound and a lights-out 3-point threat at shooting guard from the current roster?
Greg, Carlisle

Have to hope it’s in the next couple of drafts, right? Bradley and Sullinger appear to be great picks, though not with the skill sets you mentioned. Olynyk has impressed early and could be a good player for this team. That true center or lights-out shooting guard is not yet on the roster, but those are both priorities in future drafts you would think. This is where fans’ patience is going to be tested, Greg. Those players may be out there, but they’re not here yet.
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