Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Where would we be if not for Avery Bradley? Let that marinate a moment.
Who was the catalyst of our original 6 game winning streak? Who has filled in more for Rajon Rondo than anyone else? Or to put it even more succinctly (as someone on twitter did last week - sorry I can't remember who)... who is currently the 3rd best player on the Celtics right now?
Avery Bradley, that's who.
Jason Terry has a ring and many years of experience and Jeff Green has a larger contract and Brandon Bass has been a starter for a longer period of time but the best of the group is by far Avery Bradley. And that's saying something for a guy that is 6th on the team in scoring and boasts just barely above a 10 in PER.
This guy is a game changer on defense and is opportunistic on offense. And he's even become more of a leader in the absence of Rondo.
Having taken on more responsibilities since Rondo went down, particularly as the first-unit ball-handler, Bradley has ascended to a key role as the team's first-string quarterback. What's more, his infectious defensive intensity has essentially made him a leader by example. "His defense speaks loud," said assistant coach Armond Hill, tasked with running Sunday's skeleton session. "He steps on the floor and guys know that he’s going to be picking up [the opposing ball-handler full court]. So if he’s going to pick up, then everyone has to pick up. That’s good. Our defense goes to another level, especially if he gets a steal or something like that. It brings everyone together more."
I've even heard guys like Pierce say that he sacrifices some of what he could do on offense in order to be more aggressive on defense. How many players in the NBA could say that? If anything, they are all running the exact opposite direction.
So a huge thank you and tip of the hat to our beloved Pit Bull.