This Celtics season just keeps getting more and more interesting by the game. Now riding a nine game losing streak into Wednesday's matchup with the Raptors, Boston's backcourt is becoming a hot topic.
Lets start with what we know: Avery Bradley is going to be the starting shooting guard for the time being. Bradley has been having a career season, and may have had his best game of the year Monday night against the Rockets. Bradley went for 24 points, five boards, three assists and three steals while holding James Harden to 6-18 shooting from the field.
Now the rest of the picture begins to get cloudy. Rajon Rondo might have suggested that he is returning on Friday night against the Lakers. If Rondo is indeed returning "sooner rather than later", as coach Stevens suggested, that's about 36 minutes per game jumping into the guard rotation mid-season (assuming Rondo is not eased back on a limited basis).
Add the Rondo news on top of Jerryd Bayless getting off to a hot start with the Celtics and Jordan Crawford plummeting over the past month… Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge have some decisions to make.
Bayless is averaging 9.6 PPG, 4.2 APG and 2 SPG so far in 21.6 minutes a night as a Celtic. Monday against the Rockets was his coming out party in his first home game, scoring 15 points in a five minute stretch in the fourth quarter (not to mention a huge block on the much taller Terrence Jones). Bayless is only shooting 40.8% in green so far though, but defense might make him a better option than Crawford right now.
Oh, Jordan Crawford… we should have known it was too good to be true. Crawford has been shooting 35.3% during the losing streak while taking 12.55 shots per game. He has remained a good passer, which is still shocking, but lack of defense might make Bayless worth a try. We saw it in the fourth quarter Monday night and it worked well against a good team. Amazing to think that the best PLAYER on the team the first month of the season could become the fourth GUARD in the rotation by February. Just another reason this season is so insane.
The bottom line is this: there is no way all four of these guards are still here after the trade deadline. Bayless is unable to be moved before the deadline, so that leaves three options. We know Chad Ford is convinced Rondo is the guy to go, but where is the deal for Rondo? Not saying one won't come together though, don't underestimate Ainge.
Bradley is interesting to look at. Both Ainge and Celtics fans want Bradley here as a future building block, but for the right price. Personally I love Bradley and hope he is here to stay, he has proven he can continue to improve his game each season. If Ainge decides Bradley will cost too much to re-sign though, he could be a big chip at the deadline.
There has been chatter of trading Crawford all season, but so far nothing has gone down. Ainge may have missed the window on Crawford, but at least his contract expires after this season. Doesn't mean a team desperate for a guard won't cave in and give Ainge something worth while for Crawford.
This is a lot to digest. And we didn't even dive into the idea that Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Kris Humphries will all be shopped around as well. The fact that we have no clue what is going to happen is what makes this season so much fun to follow.
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Read more of Julian's articles here Julian Edlow 1/14/2014 11:42:00 AM Tweet