The Return of Avery Bradley

When asking a Celtics fan who their favorite player is you will get a wide variety of answers. Most will answer Rajon Rondo because he is their current best player, best passer in the league and a once in a lifetime point guard. Many more will answer Paul Pierce, a lifetime Celtic, a rarity in this day and age. Tommy Heinsohn once dubbed Pierce the best pure scorer in Celtics history, although he is prone to hyperbole this statement still speaks volumes. The remaining will probably answer Kevin Garnett, the defensive lifeblood of the Celtics. For a team that has recently won with defense their best defensive player is a logical favorite.

This piece was inspired by my favorite Celtic returning to practice after missing all of the season thus far due to injury. My favorite Celtic is, Avery Bradley. AB plays the way I want to play. In my opinion he is the best wing defender in the league. In an NBA full of players who take awful shots in order to get a big payday, I have yet to see Bradley take a bad shot. He is soft spoken, humble and gives 100% at all times.

In 8th grade I played for the best coach I ever played for. His philosophy was an organized free flowing offense with a stifling full court man to man defense. To this day, schematically this is my preferred method of playing. In order to play like this you must play with supreme discipline and effort. Last year when Avery Bradley started picking up other team’s point guards full court he showed me the discipline and effort that make him my favorite player

Currently the Celtic’s biggest problem  is their defense. They are an undersized at most positions and it has changed the way they are playing defense. This year unlike other years, they are switching on pick and rolls As opposed to their normal method of blitzing screens or against more athletic teams the jab and recover method. This is necessitated by their lack of shot blockers on the back end. Due to this, their pick and roll defense has been about as bad as it has been during the Garnett era (especially with KG out of the game). This is relevant to this post because Avery Bradley is one of the best pick and roll defenders in the league (see video)

The return of Avery Bradley will coincide with the Celtics return to defensive dominance. I predict that many other players will get credit for the streak that they are about to go on, but Avery Bradley is going to be the catalyst. His staunch defense, athleticism  effort and shot selection might not be recognized by everyone, but it is recognized by me and that is why he’s my favorite Celtic.

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