We're four weeks away from the return of one of the biggest fan favorites on the team, but don't expect the old Avery Bradley when he comes back. His rehab and recovery not only included time in the gym, but also hours studying and watching tape.
There's some really good stuff in Rob Bradford's look into Avery Bradley's recovery, but what really strikes me is how focused AB is on becoming a better point guard. Avery's insertion into the starting lineup and playing next to Rajon Rondo last season clearly made the Celtics a better team. He unseated #20 as the starting shooting guard and there were grumblings from the locker room that Rondo preferred playing with Bradley over "that guy." Now, with AB's return roughly four weeks away, it's interesting that he's concentrating his efforts on playing behind RR and not next to him:
"I look at it completely different now," he said. "Some things that Doc [Rivers] might see -- because he sees a lot of things that players don't see -- I'm starting to see. Being a back-up point guard you need to know where everybody has to be. You need to know certain plays. Now, sitting back watching, I can try and become like [Rajon] Rondo as far as knowing where everybody's supposed to be. Just trying to be the General.
"It helps you feel a lot more comfortable know the plays."
"I'm learning from [Rondo] as far as watching him," Bradley explained. "He looks at it completely different. I used to just watch it. But now I watch the people's tendencies and how to get people the ball a lot of different ways.
"I think that's why a lot of people are uncomfortable while they are young point guards. If you don't know the plays, and where everybody's supposed to be, it's hard because you're rushing through everything. That's how it used to be. But you never see Rondo rushing. He takes his time."
He's even becoming a video junkie like RR:
"I didn't watch and feel it as much in the summer time. But once the season started back up, I started doing it," he said. "I do it now for the simple fact that, as a back-up point guard, it helps you so when you watch film as a team you already know the mistakes your teammates made, or you made, and helps you know even more what is going on.
"It's definitely hard watching every single game. Even some games it's hard for me to sit down on the bench because I wish I was playing. But I support my teammates every game, and try to continue to get better everyday watching film, going out there working on ball-handling and shooting. Anything I can do to get better, that's what I try to do every single day."
Whether this is self-motivated or something that Doc has instructed him to do, Bradley seems set on handling the ball-handling duties more this year. It makes sense considering the depth of shooting guards on the team and the lack of a true playmaker off the bench.
I can't wait for this kid to come back. I shudder at the idea of including him in a trade for Marcin Gortat. We're talking about a player that helped turn last year's season around, played through excruciating pain in the playoffs and only stopped when he literally couldn't raise his arms over his his shoulders anymore, and has a bright future ahead of him at the age of 21.