When you are a team playing for the future and developing young talent, as is the case with the Boston Celtics, naming a team captain might not be on the top of your to do list.
But the Celtics are a franchise deep rooted in history. A history of winning, and a tradition of giving one of their better players the title of captain. Since 1950, the team has had one, the most recently being Rajon Rondo.
Here are a list of players that were given the honor for the Celtics:
1950-63: Bob Cousy
1963-69: Bill Russell
1969-78: John Havlicek
1978-80: Dave Cowens
1980-92: Larry Bird
1992-93: Reggie Lewis
1993-94: Robert Parish
1994-95: Dee Brown and Dominique Wilkins
1995-96: Dee Brown
1996-97: Rick Fox
1997-98: Dee Brown, Antoine Walker and Pervis Ellison
1998-99: Antoine Walker
1999-2000: Antoine Walker and Dana Barros
2000-03: Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce
2003-13: Paul Pierce
2013-14: Rajon Rondo
When asked about selecting a captain back in 2013, coach Brad Stevens had this to say courtesy of NESN's Ben Wantanabe:
"I've never done official captains." Stevens told reporters after Wednesday's preseason loss to the Knicks."If that's something that's important or we need to do or we need to talk about, then we can do that."
So if Stevens is to have one on with this current group, the question would be who? Since the end of last season, thanks to Danny Ainge's fire sale, the C's only have 6 guys remaining from last years' squad. So picking a veteran that has been with the team through thick and thin is out of the window.
Normally rookies aren't given the respect so Marcus Smart wouldn't be an option. Kelly Olynyk could be a possibility but since he folds under pressure just starting, I don't think the privilege would do him any good.
Jared Sullinger was introduced last during introductions last game, so he is an option. But Sully is still on his rookie deal, and his contract, as well as his skill set, will be a very trade-able asset if a team is interested in the ex-Ohio State big man.
That all being said, the one guy that seems to have a long-term future with the team, after signing a 4-year contract extension last summer, is Avery Bradley. Bradley has shown maturity on and off the court and his game continues to improve, even if that means he's constantly given the green light on the offensive end.
Sure Bradley has his flaws on the court. His defense has remained steady but, like his old teammate Rondo, AB takes too many chances trying to create turnovers. On the offensive end his jump shot is very smooth, but he dribbles the ball like he has feet for hands.
But as a team you want your captain to be the voice of the the 15 players you go to battle with each night on the court,as well as the organization. I believe Bradley is ready to take that role seriously. One quick look at the Celtics' huddles this season, and you see Bradley communicating even more with his teammates than years past.
Off the court Bradley has fallen in love with the city. Which is a good sign from a guy born in the great North West. (Bradley is from Tacoma, Washington). Last summer Bradley expressed his passion for the city in an article written by ESPN's Chris Forsberg:
"Boston is my home now," Bradley said. "I've been living here for four years, I feel like the community, they know me, I feel like they think I'm from here because I have been living here from so long"
There aren't a lot of great options as far as giving someone the title of captain on this current roster. But Bradley makes the most sense when it comes to longevity with the C's, as well as his future outlook in Celtic green. He clearly gets the history and he is building a bond with the fans on and off the court, all while having a special place in his heart for the city.