In pointed decision, Avery Bradley now a shooting guard
WALTHAM — With Rajon Rondo out yet another training camp, this time unexpectedly, coach Brad Stevens has been forced to come up with another rotation at the point, one that doesn’t include the four-time All-Star.
On the first day of training camp, Stevens laid out his plan at point guard for the next eight weeks: rookie Marcus Smart, second-year player Phil Pressey, and recently acquired Evan Turner, who has played three positions.
That lineup will not include former point guard Avery Bradley, who has dabbled at point for four years. The organization feels as if the defensive-minded Bradley has found a position, and that is shooting guard.
It is a significant decision for the Celtics, who have been unsure where to play Bradley since he was drafted in 2010. He was initially tabbed as a point guard but has flourished more when not handling the ball, especially when he can concentrate on defending the opposing point guard.
“He got to the point where he was comfortable off the ball,’’ Stevens said of Bradley. “Will he run some 1 [point guard] in some actions [up-tempo]? Certainly. But he did that last year with Rondo on the court. But not as one of the guys that most likely will replace Rondo.”
Turner has played point guard sparingly throughout his career, but he is accustomed to handling the ball, where he flourishes offensively.
“The one thing is, you don’t know,” Stevens said. “He’s better with the ball than not. Notwithstanding Rondo, he’s as good of a pick-and-roll player as we have.”
Turner, however, is not a point guard by trade and it’s a difficult task to play such a role consistently in the NBA.
“We only have one point guard healthy that has NBA experience, and that’s Phil Pressey, and not a lot of it,’’ Stevens said. “I’m not as worried about it because I think people are going to put you in a box for your position. I’m just not going to do that.”
Having been asked to play various positions, Turner doesn’t appear fazed by playing lead guard.
“It’s training camp, I knew I was going to have to adjust and learn new things anyway,” he said. “Once again, just learning on the fly. I’m not really overwhelmed or anything. It’s my fifth year in the league. I’m not really worried. It’s the first day of practice. I want to learn all the plays and just get a pace to myself.”
Stevens, Turner, and Smart said they were impressed with the court speed of Tyler Zeller, a candidate to start at center on Opening Night. Stevens has been trying to pick up the pace of the offense and Zeller impressed with his running the floor . . . Stevens said Jared Sullinger is in solid condition but can improve that during training camp. Sullinger said one of his primary offseason goals was to get into better shape and improve his endurance and Stevens said he has accomplished that so far . . . The Celtics will practice twice again Wednesday as the early preparation continues with 20 players in camp.