Since Rajon Rondo went down, the Celtics have needed every individual player to step up on the offensive end. Avery Bradley has done just that. Since Rondo’s absence, he’s posted a 102.6 offensive rating along with a 98.5 defensive rating.
The balance that he helps bring to the floor is invaluable for Boston. He’s shooting 41.6% from the field but his effort on the defensive end is very difficult to handle. Avery is asked to pressure that ball up the floor most times and he’s asked to lock down the opposing team’s best perimeter players. That could mean anything from fighting through baseline screens to fighting over and under picks to constant switching. A lot goes into what he does on the defensive end. Its a grueling, tiring task.
Bradley shut down Stephen Curry after he had a 54 point game against the Warriors just nights before. Curry may have had 25 points but it took him 22 shots to get them. Curry only made six of those 22 shots and if it weren’t for some stellar free throw shooting he would’ve had one of his worst nights scoring of the season.
Curry was aiming for history. He could’ve broken the record for most three point shots made in consecutive games. He made 17 in two games and only needed five to break the record previously held by Mike Miller. Avery wasn’t having that happen on him–he held Curry to 3-11 shooting from beyond the arch.
Bradley once said on twitter, “Nobody will score 40 on me unless they take 40 shots.” That was his response after Kyrie Irving went for 40+ against the Boston Celtics. Truth be told, the 40 points wasn’t on Bradley–a majority of the points were on his counterpart Rajon Rondo. But Bradley took most of the heat for it because he is the Celtics’ premier perimeter defender.
Curry felt the defensive wrath of Avery Bradley full force in his game against Boston. That’s something that Stephen Curry isn’t alone in. Bradley’s 98.2 defensive rating doesn’t just come from osmosis. It takes a lot of work to be one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, but in only three years, Bradley has become one of them. It has been a process for Bradley, but I’ve enjoyed watching him grow as a Celtic.
He came in to the organization as this young, quiet, point guard who was raw on both ends. Now, thrown into a starting role, Bradley is thriving. A lot of players don’t have the same resilience that he does and would’ve been out of the league after a frustrating first season. Avery Bradley is too confident to ever let that happen.