“No one is talking about it but he is probably the most improved since he has been in the lineup, ” point guard Rajon Rondo said after the Celtics won for the 10th time in 13 games and the 20th in 28. “I know he hasn’t done it all year but the time he has been given, we haven’t had a lot of practice time, but once Doc (Rivers) threw him in he was ready to go. He has never looked back and he has continued to grow. He is playing well every game and he is always positive and it shows on the floor.”
Rajon Rondo On Avery Bradley Courtesy OF ESPN Boston
The Boston Celtics earned a playoff spot with their win over the New Jersey Nets last night. The starting lineup again was carrying the load. They got solid performances from the usual suspects of Rajon Rondo (15 assists), Paul Pierce (17 points), Kevin Garnett (21 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block), and Brandon Bass (18 points). These performances were all big, but they are expected from these guys this season. Rajon Rondo is an established top point guard that is an assist machine. Paul Pierce every year is one of the leagues best scorers. KG is “The Big Ticket” for a reason. Brandon Bass has always been a guy that if given minutes will get double digit points.
The performance that was not expected had someone done some late season predictions before the ear began is that of Avery Bradley. His great defense is no shock, but the man poured in 18 points including 11 clutch points in the deceive third quarter. Bradley’s performance last night is just another reason that he should be seeing some most improved player votes come season’s end.
The improvement of Bradley’s game has been striking. Bradley did not play much his rookie year as he sat and struggled to adjust to his role as a backup point guard. He looked like he had zero grasp of running an NBA offense. He had no idea where to pass the ball or when to look for his shot. His defense was solid, but his offense just would not allow him to hit he floor for serious minutes.
The struggles continued this season early on. Before the season began, Bradley was a guy that did not understand his role on the offensive end. Was he a facilitator or a scorer? Doc Rivers tried to clear that up, but Bradley’s confidence was clearly rattled. He lost some minutes to rookie E’Twaun Moore for a stretch due to his struggles on offense.
However, Bradley did not sulk or pout after his demotion. He just worked harder on his game. He was told that he was to work on his jump shot and use his speed to get behind defenses with quick cuts. Slowly Bradley started tasting success and building confidence.
Starting shooting guard and future hall of famer Ray Allen went down with an injury and Bradley seized the opportunity. Playing with the starters Bradley fit in like the missing puzzle piece. He brought high energy defense, but the key was he brought a new athletic dimension to the offense. Point guard Rajon Rondo found for the first time in a long time a running mate that could get behind the defense with his quick cuts to the basket. Bradley even found space to shoot the jump shot that he had been hard at work on because the defenses were focused on guys like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Bradley hit his shots for the most part and his confidence has soared.
Avery went from averaging about five points a game to a little over twelve points a game the last thirteen games as Boston has won ten out of those thirteen. Bradley has also gone from a seldom used rookie to defensive specialist that was little used and now to a starting NBA shooting guard on a team with title aspirations. This is quite the improvement. This means Bradley should get most improved player for any publication. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!!!!