Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
That appears to be Bradley’s offseason in a nutshell. The soon-to-be fourth-year guard is one of the few returning players who has managed to keep a low profile during a summer that’s been anything but understated in Boston. While many of his teammates turned up in Orlando to watch some of the summer league, Bradley managed to avoid the cameras and microphones.
Bradley has been spotted throughout the offseason, working out in his native Tacoma in June, enjoying some downtime in Cabo soon after, and back working out at the team’s facility throughout much of July. Teammates expected him to drop by Orlando for some informal workouts as well.
Between surgeries on his ankle and both shoulders, and the lockout, Avery Bradley is only just now getting to put in an NBA-level offseason workout plan. For the first time in his career, he’s healthy and he has access to the team’s facilities and trainers at the same time over the summer.
And if we assume Rajon Rondo is going to be ready to go at or near the beginning of the season, the Celtics will, for the first time, have the Rondo/Bradley backcourt available to them for all or most of the season. Of course, now they won’t also have certain other guys around them, so it’s hard to say how successful it will or won’t be. Offensively, teams can feel a little more comfortable running Bradley off the corner three because the Celtics don’t have two Hall of Famers on the floor to worry about anymore.
So Bradley is going to have to put in a lot of work on the offensive end to make himself more of a threat. That’s going to include a lot of ball handling work, and it’s going to have to involve a lot of shooting (thanks to Red’s Army advance scout and retired Army Captain Joseph Obvious for that information).
Call me an eternal optimist, but I do see a competent offensive player within Avery Bradley. He’s not a point guard, and I doubt he ever will be, but if he can just develop enough of a handle to get himself out of trouble and into some space, I think he can become a decent shooter in the NBA. I’ve said for a long time that I like his shooting form. I think it’s technically sound and those stretches where it doesn’t fall are largely a matter of confidence.
A shooting stroke is much like a golf swing. The key to both being successful is being able to replicate it over and over and over again. Everything from how you catch the ball to making sure it spins off your middle finger last as it leaves your hand, a shooter has to turn that form into something mechanical. Even if it doesn’t go in, getting it to the point where the form is exactly the same every time allows the ball to go in more often than not.
The only way to get it that way is repetition. Hours and hours and hours of repetition. Thousands upon thousands of shots in different situations…. catch-and-shoot, off-the-dribble, off screens… all must go up with the same form.
I hate to bring it up, but Ray Allen’s shot in Game 6 last month is an example of what happens when you get it down like that. When the shit hit the fan, he was able to square his shoulders and release the same shot he’s always released. Thinking didn’t come into play. It was mechanical, and perfect.
I don’t expect Bradley to get to that point, but I expect him to improve and become a more reliable shooter than he’s been. His defense is his calling card. It will lead to plenty of offense for him. But what Bradley needs to do now more than every is become a legitimate threat to make jumpers.
Gone are the days of him benefiting from diverted attention on the offense end of the floor. Bradley now has to be the guy diverting the attention so guys like Sullinger and Olynyk can do their jobs. For the first time in his career, Bradley has all the tools available to an NBA player to make an improvement of that magnitude possible.
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