BOSTON -- Fans are going nuts over Avery Bradley's success shooting threes -- he's now 10-of-17 this preseason -- but Bradley hasn't really stepped out above the break. But lost in Monday's 111-105 victory over the Brooklyn Nets was possibly the perfect example of Bradley's year to come.
Late in the first quarter the Boston Celtics ran a dribble handoff to free Bradley for an above the break three-pointer. Bradley sprinted through Kelly Olynyk's down screen, received the handoff from Jared Sullinger, and confidently drained the shot.
Here's the clip:
Witnessing this in person beats being the first human to step foot on Mars.
This is an important development, because it's a sign Brad Stevens is further pushing the envelope of play types they'll use for Bradley.
It was already a positive to see Bradley working more from the corner, and splashing threes from that zone, but now the Celtics are taking pages out of other team's playbooks, like the Warriors, and adapting them to their own personnel.
Bradley is no Klay Thompson. That's obvious. But as covered in May: "that doesn't mean the Celtics can't aim to utilize Bradley in a similar manner as a means of developing that area of his game."
Here's a similar dribble handoff run by the Warriors:
Stephen Curry passes the ball to Festus Ezeli and sets a down screen for Thompson. As Thompson bursts around the screen, Ezeli hands the ball off to Thompson for the shot.
The crowd went wild, just like TD Garden could this year if Bradley keeps hitting threes.
Stevens actually ran the same play again in the third quarter, but the defender knocked Bradley off rhythm.
Despite the miss, process matters, and it's encouraging to see the Celtics go back to that play again.
So far this preseason, in a limited sample, 47 percent of Bradley's field goal attempts have come from behind the arc. And only 28 percent have been from mid-range.
This is virtually an inverse from last season, when 34 percent of Bradley's shots were threes and 43 percent were from mid-range.
Bradley told CelticsBlog at Media Day, "long twos don't make as much sense as a three-pointer." And Bradley later told MassLive: "I feel like the plays that we're going to be running are going to be for threes."
And through five preseason games we're beginning to see the witness Bradley hinted at.
Avery Bradley's evolution is one small step for mankind and one giant leap for the Boston Celtics.