But when both Allen and Mickael Pietrus went down later in the month, Bradley kicked in the rotation doors, not only establishing himself as an essential player but taking over the starting shooting guard role that he's relinquished for just one game since.
Over the past 16 games, Bradley has averaged 14.8 points, while shooting 54.5 percent from the floor (96 of 176) and 56.3 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (18 of 32). Defense remains his calling card, but his offense is quickly catching up, which seemed impossible given his woes shooting the ball early in his career.
As Kevin Garnett gushed: "Avery is playing as good as any other player in this league…. high confidence right now and we're loving it, we're fueling it. We fuel everything in this locker room with confidence."
Confidence is all Bradley needed. Now, he gushes it. It's still subtle, but Garnett has taken notice of it.
"Man, he's playing with a free mind, playing aggressively, attacking the rim," said Garnett. "On top of other things, he's hitting 3-pointers, chest-bumping, and having his own little swag, if you will. I love it."
Whether I'm watching him play or reading over his stats, I remain stunned at the emergence of Avery Bradley.
The next challenge comes in the playoffs. Can AB still knock down shots as the games get more important, more physical and the competition gets better?
Check out the entire article. Chris Forsberg also examines the adjustments Bradley's had to make in dealing with the media and his contract status, which is favorable to the team for the next 3 seasons.
Related links: Herald – Avery Bradley packing 1-2 punch
On Page 2, Ray Allen wants to play for a team that won't trade him.
So Allen was asked to think hypothetically. Let’s say that after his contract expires on July 1, the Celtics fail to find a major free agent willing to accept a piece of their newfound cap space. If Allen gets a call from Ainge, offering up a one-year deal at above average money, would that be enough to make him stay?
Allen paused and grimaced. He wants better security than another one-year deal. He’s tired of sweating out trade deadlines.
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” he said of the scenario. “But I don’t want to go into this season, like I have in past seasons, worrying about whether I was going to be traded or not. At this point we want to ride it out, take this thing to the house, and not have the instability of not knowing whether today or tomorrow something is going to happen.
“For all of us, you deal with that over the course of your career, but wherever I end up after this summer, that has to be the No. 1 mandate. At this time I owe it to my family to be ultimately selfish, because I’ve been a very unselfish team player, and I’ll always do that. But when it comes to myself and my family, I have to make sure that I don’t rock their worlds or put them off kilter in any fashion.”
Ray Allen is a man in transition, and it's killing him. This season he's dealt with incessant trade speculation and the loss of his starting position. I hate to sound callous but… Get used to it, Ray.
No team is going to give Ray Allen a no-trade clause. He might be able to squeeze a two-year deal out of a contending team, but such a demand will limit his choices. Ray will have to decide what's more important; chasing another championship or stability.
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