Since the second half of last season, Avery Bradley has been a vital part to the Boston Celtics success. Last year he was the defensive enforcer, the one who covered players like Dwyane Wade and effectively shut them down while he was in the game. While he’s still known as a defensive stopper, he developed an offensive game, which originally was cutting to the basket on the baseline, but since late last season, he’s become a reliable shooter from the perimeter. As much as his game grew, it’s still growing, and this season he’s added another specialty to his already successful repertoire.
The last three weeks or so since Rajon Rondo’s season ended, Bradley has played time at the point guard position in his absence. He’s had to face up against players like Ty Lawson and Damian Lillard, who Bradley shut down and made him look like the rookie that he is. Considering that he hadn’t played much at point guard in his first two seasons in the NBA, it’s impressive that he’s still producing the offensive and defensive numbers he was posting as a shooting guard. Against the Utah Jazz, Bradley scored 18 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, dished out 4 assists, and had 2 steals. He’s not just the defensive stopper that everyone thinks he is, he’s also become a go-to guy on the offense.
When he first got minutes in the NBA, I originally thought he was a Tony Allen type, one who was a lockdown defender, but not someone that you’d look to on the offensive end. Since the latter part of last season, it’s hard to put him in a category of players that play the same game as Avery Bradley because he play both ends of the court effectively. He’s a unique player, that’s for sure, and in time that he was rehabbing after having shoulder surgery, it was obvious the Boston Celtics missed his defensive intensity.
In Rondo’s absence, Bradley has stepped up his game. He’s had to do a lot of what Rondo did on offense when he’s played point guard, and during this recent west coast trip, he was effective in that role. With the injuries that have mounted at the guard position for Boston this season, Bradley has really shown his worth, even more than last season. As the Celtics trudge on towards the playoffs, Bradley, along with Pierce and Garnett will be needed. So far, as we enter March, he’s already begun to carry the load and do his part in helping the team get back to the playoffs.