BOSTON — Celtics coach Doc Rivers received a unique scouting report on Celtics first round pick Avery Bradley.
"My sons played against Avery in AAU ball," said Rivers. "I called them and they said he is very tough and an excellent defender. If (top high school prospect) Austin (Rivers) says he's a good defender, it means something."
Looking to prevent Rajon Rondo from having to play every minute of big games next season, the Celtics selected Texas point guard Bradley with the 19th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft last night. They also chose Notre Dame's Luke Harangody in the second round.
"I am thrilled to be with this organization and have the chance to learn from the older guys," said Bradley. "I want to be one of the top defenders in the league."
As a combo guard at Texas last season, Bradley showed some scoring ability, averaging 11.4 points a game for the Longhorns. But it is his defense that has drawn rave reviews so far, despite standing just 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds.
"I believe he is already an NBA defender," said Rivers. "He can play defense on any point guard in the NBA right now, which is huge for us. He also has unbelievable speed and a very good mid-range game.
"Avery was the first tape Danny showed me, but then he said he probably wasn't going to be there at our pick. But a few teams traded in front of us, and he fell."
As a senior, Bradley was named ESPNRISE.com High School National Player of the Year and ranked the top high school prospect in the country, ahead of top overall draft pick John Wall.
"You never know what's going to happen at the last minute," said Danny Ainge. "There was another guy we looked at, too. We considered trading down if neither of those guys was there. But Avery was our guy. He is young, but plays with great effort and athleticism. He has a good knowledge of the game."
Bradley also cited defense as his greatest strength.
"I feel like that is the part of my game I am most comfortable with," he said. "I know I have to improve, but that is my strongest part. I am confident playing defense and feel like I can defend anyone."
He said he has one player he would especially love to take on — budding NBA superstar and fellow former Texas star Kevin Durant. The two met while Durant was spending a summer at Texas.
"He may be a little bigger than me (6-foot-9)," said Bradley. "But we always joke about me taking him on." ...
Ainge paid a high complement to Luke Harangody, who the Celtics chose in the second round, 52nd overall.
"He could be a guy like a (Leon) Powe or (Ryan) Gomes, that is a very good player and still available," said Ainge.
The Celtics would no doubt be delighted if the second rounder's production was anywhere close to Powe, a key player off the bench during their run to a title two years ago. Harangody spent four years as a standout forward for Notre Dame. He was a three-time All-Big East selection and was a consensus second team All-American this season after averaging 21.8 points and 9.1 rebounds a game.
"He has been a dominant player in the Big East for three years," said Ainge of the 6-foot-7, 251-pounder. "We don't know yet. We'll have to see. He seems like a good athlete."
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