Originally posted on Celtics Town  |  Last updated 1/2/13
Alas, we have been holding off judgment until today, the day that Avery Bradley returns.  Doc talked to Bill Crystal about how much the Texas University product means to the team, so you know it is a big deal (I don’t know if I am kidding or not).  We have been the doctors thus far, and diagnosed all of Boston’s ailments.  Tonight will be the night of prognosis– where we can finally begin to project how the rest of the season will unfold.Bradley has been rehabbing from double shoulder surgery since the beginning of the season, and his return could mean the answer to all the Celtics’ problems, or he could be just another body to a crowded and underachieving back-court.In times of despair, the unknown is often glorified.  People separated from their significant others for long periods of time remember them 5 times more beautiful and 3 times less cranky.  Bradley has morphed into a smart, lock-down, corner three shooter who is always ready to take on the other teams’ best player, or in the previous scenario– Ms. Massachusetts.  Then there is the counter-effect of people realizing this is happening, and tempering their own expectations by remembering all the ‘bad times’: “He is an inconsistent shooter! He still hasn’t logged a lot of NBA minutes! He isn’t a big man when Boston needs size!”In my own pragmatic way– I tend to split the difference.This Celtics team has problems, the most troubling is a lack of energy.  Boston allows a great deal of dribble penetration, which causes a big-man rotation, which causes bad rebounding position, which…stop me if you’ve heard this before.   Bradley is a hell of a perimeter defender, so hope for his return is reasonable.The Celtics square off against the Memphis Grizzlies, who boast a solid young core which features former Celtic Tony Allen.  Many would argue that Allen and Bradley are the two best perimeter defenders in the NBA today.  It will be interesting to see how the current matches up against the former as Boston struggles to find a win.  Perhaps 2013 will be the year Boston turns it around.However Bradley plays, it should finally give Celtic’s fans some rest.  The Celtics have been on a skid of late (lost last three, 7 of last 10) and it has tough to maintain hope for challenging in the east.  Bradley has been the one thing keeping from Celtics fans from the ‘screw it, we might not make the playoffs, this team can’t compete’ mentality (the proverbial ‘edge’).  If nothing else, after tonight game against the Grizzlies, we will have answers.
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