Last summer, when the Celtics inked Avery Bradley to a 4-year, $32 million contract, many fans thought it was far too much for a defensive specialist. But Bradley has proved this season that he is not just a one-dimesional player, as the fifth year Celtic continues to make strides on the offensive end.
In the last three games, the Celts' starting shooting guard has shot out of this world, making 50% from the field while averaging 23.7 points, four assists and four rebounds per game in that span.
He's been so hot on offense, he's doing stuff like this:
The best part about Bradley's three-pointer to force overtime against the Lakers, was the confidence he had once the ball left his hand. That, in itself, is great to see from a guy who came into the league so limited offensively, getting the majority of his buckets on backdoor cuts, and dishes from Rajon Rondo.
Chris Mannix, on the post game show, called Bradley Mr. Mid-Range and one look at his shot chart in his 28-point performance Friday in Sacramento justifies the nickname:
But as Bradley's offense keeps improving, his bread and butter is still his defense. In Monday's win against Phoenix, AB had six steals, a career high, constantly applying pressure on the Suns' backcourt.
His play on the defensive end against Phoenix put him in some legendary company:
Bradley (23 pts, 6 steals vs Phoenix) 1st Celtic since Paul Pierce (35 & 6) on 2/10/06 vs. Portland to reach those totals.
— Mark Murphy (@Murf56) February 24, 2015
Bradley's defense has always been top notch, but he must have done something right over the all-star break because he has come back with a vengeance on the C's 1-2 road trip:
Before Friday, Avery Bradley's season-high for steals in a game was 3. Last 3 games he's got 4, 3, & 6 while averaging 23.7 PPG @CelticsLife
— Mark Vandeusen (@LucidSportsFan) February 24, 2015
In three games since the All-Star break, Avery Bradley's steal-to-turnover ratio is 13 to 2. He's averaging 23.7 PPG.
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) February 24, 2015
What could be the key to Bradley's recent thievery? It's possible he is putting down the Netflix, and firing up some game tape:
Avery Bradley on his defense: "I wanted to become a better team defensive player and I really feel like I'm improving because I watch film."
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 24, 2015
Bradley goes on to talk about his defense, in an article written by Mass Live's Jay King:
I always knew that I could really help my team out on one-on-one defense. But I wanted to become a better team defensive player. And I really feel like I'm improving because I watch film and I know where to pick my spots. It's helping me get steals as well.
If Bradley can continue this hot play, his contract will look like a steal, literally and figuratively. For everyone who still wants to complain about how much he gets paid, keep in mind that the Celts just traded away Marcus Thornton, who was making $8 million a year. I realize I have a HUGE Bradley bias, but comparing those two guys is like apples and oranges. In the sense that Thornton is a out-of-date piece of fruit that won't do anything for your future, while Bradley is nice and fresh and continues to impress you with every bite.
Okay, maybe that analogy was a little bit weird, but you get the point.
Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Follow CelticWelch on twitter @CelticWelch Rob Welch 2/25/2015 08:39:00 AM Tweet Edit