In this week’s ‘A Study In Green’ we turn our attention to The Game Changer, Avery Bradley. Let’s take a look at how Bradley played in the 2012/13 NBA season.
DEFENCE, DEFENCE AND MORE DEFENCE.
We got a New Year’s present when Avery Bradley made his long-awaited return from double shoulder surgery in the Celtics first match of the new year against Memphis. Although the Celtics lost the game and Bradley only scored 4 points, he showed glimpses of his defensive skills we grew accustomed to in 2011.
The next 6 games were pure bliss, the Celtics went on a 6 game winning streak, which saw Bradley play like the defensive dynamo we came to love. He was stripping the ball from opponents and getting fast break lay ups.
Bradley’s best game of the season came against Philadelphia in early March. He recorded season high points and rebounds, with 22 and 7 respectively. He also added an impressive 5 assists, an equal season high.
I would also like to congratulate Avery Bradley on making the 2013 NBA All-Defensive Second Team. What a great achievement after coming back from double shoulder surgery!
Rajon Rondo’s season ending ACL injury effected Bradley as much as any other player on the roster. In the 2011-12 season Bradley thrived off Rondo’s passing, especially on cuts to the basket. When Rondo went down, Bradley was forced to play out of position, running the point. While all of us hoped Bradley would be able to do a great job, he struggled with opponents concentrating so much on him, instead of Rondo.
When the Playoffs finally came around, Bradley looked tired and was weighed down by the responsibility of being the primary ball handler. His struggles on the offensive end also effected his defensive game. Once he started missing shots and committing turnovers, his defence was compromised, which was a sad sight to watch.
The Playoffs weren’t all bad, he played a solid Game 1 against the Knicks putting up 15 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Celtics went down by 7 points. I’m sure you all remember the AMAZING comeback in Game 6, although they eventually fell short, Bradley was a huge factor in the fight back, scoring 10 points in the final quarter.
All in all, this season was an up and down one for the Celtics, just like it was for Avery Bradley. Although Bradley wasn’t able to sustain his 3 point shooting and cuts to the rim that we saw when he dethroned Ray Allen for a starting spot in 2012, he showed signs that given another off-season, he should be able to return to that form and even beyond.
I really look forward to seeing what ‘Zero-Tolerance’ can bring to the table next season. It will be interesting to see if he can take his game to a new level in 2014 and help the Celtics move forward in what surely looks a rebuilding phase.
Were you happy with Avery Bradley’s output this season? Who else loves this man’s defence and tenacity at the ball?