Avery Bradley Putting in Work as a Starter for the Celtics

Holly MacKenzie@stackmackNBA Lead BloggerApril 3, 2012

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 20:  Avery Bradley #0 of the Boston Celtics takes a shot against Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on February 20, 2012 in Dallas, Texas.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Remember when everyone thought Avery Bradley should have stayed in school another year?

The Celtics' second-year guard is doing alright for himself these days. With Ray Allen sitting out Boston's past six games with a sore ankle, Bradley has had his chance to shine and he's lived up to the opportunity. In five starts, Bradley has averaged 14.6 points on 52.8 percent shooting. More importantly for Doc Rivers and the Celtics, he's helped his team go 5-0 since jumping into the starting role.

A player drafted out of Texas with the 19th pick in the 2010 draft, Bradley was selected for his defense and his potential. For most of last season, the promise of not-yet-reached potential was on display more than any defensive prowess.

This past week, Bradley has shown both potential and defense, most notably when he snatched Dwyane Wade's shot attempt in the air and slammed it back down to Earth. It was a beautiful block. It showed what the Celtics had seen in him a year earlier. It also showed why they want to keep him on the floor.

In addition to the surprising offensive burst he's given the team, the defensive combination of Bradley and Rajon Rondo in the back court is a great thing for the Celtics. With Allen potentially returning to the lineup tomorrow evening against San Antonio, it'll be interesting to see whether Rivers stays with his young guy in the lineup or goes back to Allen.

I'd stick with what's working. After reeling off five victories in a row, why not continue to allow Bradley and Rondo to develop their chemistry, see how long you can ride the wave?

I'm not the only one marveling over Bradley's play as of late. After the Celtics blew out the Heat, LeBron James had high praise for the 6-2 guard, telling reporters

"He's a really good young player. I think defensively he's one of the best guys we've seen as far as baseline to baseline, he's really good."

Not bad at all, Bradley. Praise from James is fun, but the numbers are important here. Numbers don't lie. Neither do victories. 


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