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BOSTON (CBS) – Celtics guard Avery Bradley returned to practice on Monday for the first time since undergoing surgery on both of his shoulders over the off-season.
The 12-11 Celtics could definitely use the defensive guard back in the lineup, but play-by-play man Mike Gorman cautions that Bradley’s return won’t fix all that ails the sluggish Celtics.
“I hope people don’t put too much pressure on Avery Bradley coming back,” Gorman said Tuesday on his weekly appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich. ”The problems the Celtics have are not going to be solved by Bradley’s return; they are going to be a better defensive team when he comes back, and ultimately how far they go will depend on how much better they get defensively. But so far the new pieces haven’t picked up the defense, and this team is nowhere near where they were a year ago defensively.”
Gorman could see Bradley returning on January 2 when the Celtics return from a West Coast trip to face the Memphis Grizzlies at the Garden. Time will tell if Doc Rivers puts him right back into the starting lineup, where he had success playing alongside Rajon Rondo at the end of last season.
Upon his return, the Celtics will have a crowded group of two-guards, and will likely be looking to move someone. While the Celtics could use a rebounder, Gorman would also like to see them add a true backup point guard.
“There have been reports they are starting to shop people,” said Gorman. “There is a logjam of people at the two-guard spot. I’m in the camp, a small camp, that thinks we need a backup point guard too, because I don’t think the offense runs very well when Rondo isn’t on the court.”
But before they can count on Bradley coming back, the Celtics have a tough back-to-back Tuesday and Wednesday.
“This is a difficult week,” Gorman said of the upcoming matchups in Chicago and at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers. “A, because everyone is difficult for this team right now. B, because we play Chicago on the road tonight and fly home. This is a bad back-to-back when you come West to East because you lose the hour.”
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“They play Cleveland tomorrow night with Kyrie Erving — the masked man — one of the best players in the league right now,” said Gorman. “This team needs to come together, and they need to play harder.”
Could the veteran Celtics just be on cruise control right now, gearing up for the long-run?
“I think that’s a pretty good theory, but I’m not sure the facts would back that up,” said Gorman. “The guys that are playing the hardest are Pierce, Rondo and Garnett. It’s the other guys, so I think there is some catching up that’s needs to be done by the new guys.”