They're shooting for a guard spot
December, 17, 2011
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- In overhauling their bench for the 2011-12 season, the Celtics did not immediately bring in a pure veteran shooting guard with potential to provide instant offense off the pine. Instead, it's a collection of familiar faces that have fostered an ultra-competitive camp with two young players seemingly leading the race to be the top backup for Ray Allen.
Darren McCollester/Getty ImagesSecond-year player Avery Bradley is in the mix for a key reserve role at shooting guard.
"Somebody will win [the job]," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "We’re going to let them. We tell [the players], we’re honest with them, there’s a spot there and all of you are not going to play it. It’s been a competitive camp because of it."
Rivers singled out last year's first-round pick Avery Bradley and rookie second-round draft pick E'Twaun Moore as top candidates, along with veteran wings like Sasha Pavlovic and Marquis Daniels (two players that are seemingly more natural 3s, but can play the 2 position).
Moore and Bradley traded big shots in the final second of Friday's intrasquad scrimmage at the TD Garden. Moore put his White team out front with 0.8 seconds to play with a monster 3-point, but Bradley answered with a fadeaway winner at the buzzer.
Both players know there's a golden opportunity in front of them.
"I know everybody’s going to be working hard for that position," said Bradley. "I’m going to come in every day and work hard and do everything Doc tells me to do. And whoever gets the position gets it. But at the end of the day, I’m just gonna come in and I’m always gonna grind and always gonna work hard."
Limited by injuries as a rookie, Bradley is expected to see a bump in playing time this season and the addition of Keyon Dooling should allow him to play the shooting guard spot this season and not worry about handling the ball with the reserves. Rivers often felt that responsibility took Bradley out of his comfort level last season.
Moore, a late pick who has caught Rivers' eye more than once in camp given his confidence in his shot, is making a strong case to be in the mix as well -- even if Rivers isn't typically fond of leaning too heavily on rookies.
"I guess [the reserve role is] a wide-open spot," said Moore. "I just have to keep coming in and working every day. Nothing will be given to me. I gotta earn it; I just gotta keep working hard."
With Paul Pierce (sore right heel) and Jeff Green (mystery ailment) currently sidelined, Daniels is currently at the top of the depth chart for swingman (he could start Sunday's preseason opener vs. the Raptors) with Pavlovic (left wrist injury) also in the mix.