Avery Bradley has always been known to be a knack on the defensive end — whether it is on-ball defending or full-court rundown blocks — but Tuesday’s 22-point performance against the Philadelphia 76ers was a true testament to his demeanor.
Last year in his rookie campaign, he wasn’t able to flourish mainly due to multiple shoulder injuries. This year, the 22-year-old guard has successfully achieved a complete turnaround. He is highly active on a consistent basis, and arguably one of the most valued players on the green team.
With the Celtics in 2012-13, Bradley is averaging 9.2 points, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game, but some, if not most of the pronounced plays he makes don’t show up in the box score.
The former Longhorn has brought a ton of leverage to the table where it is needed. In Tuesday’s contest against Doug Collins’ team, the explosive guard applied the scoring and defensive mentality as captain Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett received rest playing a combined total of 58 minutes.
No. 0′s performance against Jrue Holiday and company was beyond outstanding. From his explosions to the basket to taking 12-foot jumpers, the 6-foot-2 guard was unstoppable.
“My teammates have confidence in me and I have confidence in myself,” Bradley said after Tuesday’s 109-101 victory. “When I have an open shot, I have to take it. That’s how we play on this team. It helps us when I do that.”
Bradley’s defensive mentality has gone through various teammates, specifically fellow guard Courtney Lee. Throughout his five-year career, Lee has been an exceptional defender, but this year he is even better because the 27-year-old is feeding off of his teammate. In the past 10 games, Lee is averaging 1.2 steals per game.
The second-year guard’s presence on both ends of the floor is extremely vital if the Celtics want to rise up the Eastern Conference playoff ladder, but if he keeps increasing the production him and Jeff Green will most certainly be in the running for the 2013 Comeback Player of Year.