When life is very hard on us.We miss the joy's we had, or the simple things. We rarely know when times are good.Until they're really bad.Most of us have lost someone in our lives, if you haven't. I think you can imagine the pain that follows, even if you haven't felt it.Avery Bradley is entering a NBA season for the first time without his mother. As we know she passed away over the summer, for a young man like Avery Bradley who is just 22,his emotions must be off the charts, but he seems zoned in for the coming season.
Bradley’s new coach, Brad Stevens, tirelessly promotes his work at point guard. Assistant coach Ron Adams, who has spent considerable time working with Bradley, is impressed for another reason.
He understands the burden Bradley brought into this season, with the recent death of his mother, Alicia.
“He had a very unfortunate summer,” said Adams. “He lost time. He was really making progress with us and had to leave for three weeks or longer because of the tragedy of a very young mother passing away. He’s been hit pretty hard this summer for a young fella, and I think he’s just coming out of it.
“He feels good about himself and the people around him,” he said. “We just have to get him to relax. He’s a very focused guy. The trick with him is not losing any efficiency or quickness he has — not losing the aggressiveness he has. We’re trying to get him to relax in all of those areas. I think he’ll be able to do that.”
Either relax, or turn tragedy into motivation. That may be easier said than done.
“I can’t speak to that. My mom passed away this summer. Johnny Joe’s mother passed away this week,” Adams said of John Connor, the Celtics’ traveling secretary and equipment manager. “We’ve had a lot of moms pass away this summer in this organization. The thing is that my mom was 90 years old and had a stroke. (Bradley’s) mom was much, much younger in the prime of life and had a stroke. That’s difficult for anyone. You don’t just let two weeks go by and you’re like normal. It’s significant. We have to support him like anyone who’s lost a loved one.”
With that support comes an understanding that Bradley has a longer to-do list than most other Celtics.
“He just has a lot on his plate, and I love the way he’s come out in training camp and applied himself and the attitude that he’s had,” said Adams, who believes that Bradley will eventually find the balance between his increased offensive load and his more natural defensive talents.
“The combination of having a person who can play some offense and some defense is important,” said Adams. “We’re always looking for that two-way player, and he has a chance to do that.
“Extending out and pressuring is helpful,” he said. “He’s done it well. He can steal the ball. But Avery is a very young player. He’s been injured. In my mind he’s a very young player whose game is emerging. What you see now is not who he’s going to be in short order. Yeah he can pick up, and sometimes it’s helpful for your D, but sometimes it isn’t. We’ll find a happy medium with him. I think he’s going to surprise some people in a lot of areas. He’s recognizing daily how to run a team better.”
Until Rondo returns, the Celtics have no choice. But there’s little doubt that Bradley, despite his personal tragedy, is pouring himself into the job.
“He’s been progressively better every day,” said Stevens. “His mindset is in a really good place. He’s really worked. He’s watching film, he’s watching extra film. He’s studying, he’s trying to be as good as he can be, and his attitude has been fantastic. I’ve told him that what you’ve been through in the last month is not fair. We know that every day is not going to be perfect, and some days are not going to be as good as others.”
Bradley has certainty been tenacious on the defensive end so far in the preseason.Bradley had three steals against the Raptors, and another two against the Knicks, on limited minutes. He's still turning the ball over with 3 against the Raptors, and two against the Knicks, but it's expected for a few reasons. The first reason is that he's not a point guard, and the second reason is because he's running a new offense, and thirdly it's the preseason.
My opinion on Bradley is that he's not a leader. Not yet at least, and it's not a bad thing.He's only 22, and he can't lead a team by himself. What Bradley can do is lead by example on the defensive end. Bradley hasn't been around the game long enough to just pick up a leadership role that easy. Bradley deserves some kudos for trying to take the role of Rajon Rondo, but once Rondo returns. It's time for Bradley to learn from Rondo, so they can build towards the future.