Avery Bradley made JET beg for space too

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Avery Bradley made JET beg for space too

Post by bobheckler on Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:11 pm


WALTHAM — At some point, most of them complain, swear, let out a plea, ask for a little space.

The memories of tormenting opposing point guards have driven Avery
Bradley, especially during his rehabilitation from double shoulder
surgery. He has an itchy eye on a return next month, when those quiet
protests will resume. It will be a nice, early reward for his hard work.

“Some don’t say something, but I can just see how nervous they are
because I’m picking them up full court, and that’s hard,” the Celtics [team stats]
guard said yesterday after watching another practice from the sideline.
“I’m on them the whole game. That’s all I try to do. Nobody taught me
that. I did it on my own.”

This baseline-to-baseline assault worked as a 13-year-old member of
the Tacoma Icemen, the Washington AAU team founded by Jason Terry’s
father, Curtis, and it has left everyone from Jameer Nelson to the
younger Terry muttering to themselves.

That’s right, Jason Terry himself. Though he was one of Bradley’s
earliest mentors, Terry also ended up asking for a little space from the
defensive monster he helped create. The occasion was Bradley’s first
game against Dallas on Jan. 11 last season at the Garden. Terry
remembers the conversation well.

“If it wasn’t me, it was (Mavericks teammate) Jason Kidd, and
(Bradley) would literally pick us up full court,” Terry said. “One time I
asked him in the middle of the game, ‘Come on, young fella, you’ve got
to back up a little bit,’ and he said, ‘Man, this is the only way I can
stay on the court.’”

Bradley had figured out how to stay on the floor for coach Doc Rivers. He wasn’t going to change. And as he later discovered, Bradley had disrupted Dallas’ scheme.

“I didn’t know this because I was so into the game, but (Terry and
Kidd) didn’t want to bring the ball up the court,” he said. “They had
Dirk (Nowitzki) bringing the ball up the court.”

Now that he’s a teammate, Terry can relax and appreciate Bradley’s
unique talent even more. He compares Bradley to the Seattle-area legend
who became his mentor.

“I compare Avery to Gary Payton, the way he gets up into you and gets under you,” Terry said. “He wouldn’t let you get an inch.

“I grew up in Seattle, but my mother and father are from Tacoma. I’m a
Tacoma guy, too, so it didn’t matter which place you were from. I
wouldn’t say me and Avery are as close. Payton and I had a special
relationship. He was at all of my games — high school, college, he was
really there. I was already in the league when Avery came through the

That’s a rare case of understatement by Terry, though. In a sense, he has been with Bradley every step of the way.

Quick ascension

It started when Bradley joined the Icemen and started playing AAU
basketball for Gary Ward, the coach who co-founded the team with Curtis
Terry. Though the elder Terry had moved on by the time Bradley was old
enough to join the roster, his son was very much on the scene.

“I met Avery when he was a sophomore in high school, and I’ve known
him ever since,” Terry said. “We were in a 5-on-5 scrimmage, and he was
holding his own. He was competitive. He was guarding me and a couple of
other pro guys — Jamal Crawford was one of them — and you knew right
then that this kid had a competitive fire. And at this point, he wasn’t a
top college prospect. He was just a young high school kid.”

Terry thought enough of Bradley to put him on Team Jason Terry, a
local entry the following summer in the Reebok Basketball Breakout
Challenge at Philadelphia College. The event showcased the top 100
players in the country, and most of them focused on offense as a way to
please the scouts.

Bradley knew, though, that if he was going to stand out, it wouldn’t be by scoring.

“When it really clicked for me with him was in Philadelphia,” Terry
said. “This kid showed up and he was not top 50. When he left that camp,
he was top five in the camp. You could see it every day. He came in and
picked up full court. He stood out, and that’s when I knew, man, this
kid has a chance.

“When you’re in a camp full of All-Americans, and there were 100 of
them, you’re looking for something to stand out. Something that’s going
to make you stand out from everyone else. There were guys there shooting
from half-court, dunking fantastically, but there was no one willing to
go and play defense the way that he did. This was in front of 200
Division 1 college coaches, and he was picking up full court, the only
one in the entire camp who really went out and dominated a game in the
defensive end.”

Bradley’s self-belief took a jump.

“In high school, I was the type of kid who played both ends of the
floor, that’s all,” he said. “I wanted to score 30 and have the guy I
was covering score no points. A lot of young people want offense. I just
wanted to prove I was that much better than everybody.

“My sophomore year, I wasn’t known. I couldn’t really dribble or
shoot. I was just athletic and strong. Once I got to my junior year, it
was a different year.”

By his senior year, Bradley was ranked the top guard prospect in the
nation, even ahead of eventual No. 1 draft choice John Wall.

Full circle

Ironically, Bradley and Terry are together again, more as equals than ever. Terry will pick up with the Celtics [team stats]
where he left off in Dallas, as a highly regarded sixth man. Once
Bradley resumes throwing down the gauntlet in practice, it’s unlikely
Terry will face the same pressure in an actual NBA game this season.

And Bradley, perhaps more than ever, can study Terry’s methods.

“The thing I remember growing up in Tacoma is that he always came
back,” Bradley said of Terry. “All of the young players looked up to
him. He came back and played at his old high school. I had a chance to
play with him a little bit. It was just fun.

“What impressed me was just how hard he works. He’s a great shooter
for a reason, because he works so hard. Nights after games, before
games, he shoots at 2 (in the morning), and he still does it now.
Where’s Jason? At the gym. I’ve known that about him since seventh
grade, and now it’s weird that we’re here on the same team. I’ve been
looking up to him since I was young-young. Everybody knows Jason Terry.”

But not everyone can call him both a mentor and teammate.

MY NOTE: Who'da thunk we'd be drooling at the thought of the return of a 3rd year guard who never played in his first year (because he had no confidence and no shot) and only really played significant minutes in the 2nd half of last season and almost none of the playoffs? Only 4-5 weeks left before Bradley is back. Enjoy the good life while you can, all you guards out there, because by New Years life as you have known it will come to an end... I love, absolutely love, love, love, the response attributed to Bradley by JET where he says "this is the only way I can stay on the court". Hear that, Kris Joseph? Find something and do it better than anybody else.


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Re: Avery Bradley made JET beg for space too

Post by cowens/oldschool on Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:11 am

Can't wait for him to be that stud demon on all the elite points in the league, whos got a better defensive backcourt than us once he comes back? The reason our defense doesn't look like Celtics defense of old is cause hes not playing.

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Re: Avery Bradley made JET beg for space too

Post by Sam on Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:44 am


I know how much you're in love with Bradley, but let's pause for a reality check. "The reason our defense doesn't look like Celtics defense of old is cause he's not playing?" Come on!!! Let's assume "Celtics defense of old" extends back only to the arrival of KG. They've been playing several excellent years of "Celtics defense of old," and only a few months of that skein included Bradley. There's no question that Bradley adds a different, and very welcome dimension to the defense, but that dimension wasn't part of the vast majority of the excellent "Celtics defense of old."

The reason the Celtics defense doesn't look like the Celtics defense of old is because they're integrating so many new players to the system—both mentally and physically. Bradley's defensive strength is (to over-simplify) being a one-man trap. His presence is highly unlikely to make the new guys understand and execute the team defensive system better. In fact, they might even have to unlearn and relearn certain aspects of the defense with Bradley on the floor.

I love your enthusiasm, which I hope we all share.


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Re: Avery Bradley made JET beg for space too

Post by rickdavisakaspike on Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:57 am

"We attacked the offense and made it react to the defense," Mr. Russell said on another thread. He was talking about the game within the game that he and K.C. developed in college. They literally terrified offenses; there were opposing players who were never the same after they played against Bill and K.C. When you hear about old pros like Terry and Kidd who got so frustrated they actually asked Bradley to back off, and you get the idea of the demoralizing effect Bill and K.C. could have.

The best defense we've seen this year came in the Miami game, and it wasn't the Celtics, it was the Heat. They repeatedly trapped and double-teamed Rondo and other Celtic ballhandlers, who never could find a way to combat the tactic. Last year, even with a weapon like Bradley, the Cs rarely trapped. I remember raising the subject on this board and was informed that it's hardly ever done because teams know how to defeat it. If that's true, how come the best point guard in the league seemed so helpless against the tactic?

So if Miami can do it, using Ray Allen of all people as one of the trappers, why can't the Celtics?

Doc, Avery, Rondo, KG, Jet, all of them ought to be studying tape of Bill and K.C. and copying what they did. If the only fast breaks are coming from blitzkrieg offense (steals, long rebounds, forced turnovers, etc.), then they're going to need more kamikaze defense.


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Re: Avery Bradley made JET beg for space too

Post by beat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:00 am

Sam & Cow

Bradley can put unrelenting pressure on the ball like nobody else we have. The ripple effect is that teams will have a little less time and thus fewer options in running their offense and that translates to less switches and mismatches for the other 4 players and in theory, fewer and worse shots for our opponents. This can also spill over and help us create better opportunities on offense ourselves.

Can one player really make "that" much of a difference??

Time will tell....



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Re: Avery Bradley made JET beg for space too

Post by cowens/oldschool on Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:48 am

Sam beat

Can one player make a difference? yes provided theres enough other parts to find that elusive right chemistry. KG did the same thing when he arrived. I loved calling the KG/Perk led defense the Bermuda Triangle, those two covered for each other, took away everything inside with Rondo harassing on the perimeter. We would overload the strong side, with KG chasing the ball like a Pteryldactyal, it was the best best defense I've ever seen in all my years following the game.

When Perk left we had a different defense, less punishing and less physical, just wasn't nearly as good. Then when Avery Bradley arrived suddenly the team and defense was sparked, it was a different perimeter smallball defense.There were some that claimed AB was not a legit 1 or 2, didn't matter, he could defend either, suddenly we had the fastest backcourt in the league and in an era of great points, we could attack the most stacked position relentlessly, suddenly we also had the elusive chemistry thing happening as all the parts fit in a new brand of small ball that worked. I'm praying AB can get fully healthy, knock on wood, as we need him to stay that way for this team to flourish.


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Re: Avery Bradley made JET beg for space too

Post by mrkleen09 on Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:55 am

beat wrote:Can one player really make "that" much of a difference??

Good thing is, we will never have to answer this question, as the rest of the team will have a much better understanding of the proper rotations by then....so it wont be a chicken or egg thing, it will be a chicken AND egg thing.

The defense in January will be better than it is now with or without Bradley - and once they add him back, it will get exponentially better than it will be without him.

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Re: Avery Bradley made JET beg for space too

Post by Sam on Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:39 pm

Well put, Mrkleen.


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