Bradley cutting things up for the Celtics

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Bradley cutting things up for the Celtics

WALTHAM When the Boston Celtics drafted Avery Bradley, he was billed as an athletic combo guard who could score.

But little did anyone know at the time that Bradley's best means of generating points for the C's wouldn't be with him knocking down jumpers, or by beating defenders off the dribble lay-ups.

It would be lay-ups, courtesy of some really crisp cutting to the basket.

Yes, it's such a very basic play. But it has become a bread-and-butter bucket-maker for the Celtics, who hope to continue that trend tonight against the San Antonio Spurs.

The C's have spent a good chunk of this season teaching the 6-foot-2 guard how to cut to the basket effectively within their system.

Teaching him how to do it, is no longer needed.

"He's not learning anymore," Rivers said. "He knows how. He had the instinct and didn't know it. And now he's doing it. Now, he's just doing it on his own instincts. It's all him now."

And it could not have come at a better time, with Bradley seeing an increased role with the Celtics due to Ray Allen's right ankle injury.

In Bradley's first stint as a fill-in starter, he replaced Rajon Rondo who was out for eight games with a wrist injury.

Part of Bradley's responsibilities then included initiating the offense, which to a large degree made it difficult for him to be an effective scorer cutting to the basket.

Plus, at the time, Bradley wasn't nearly as comfortable doing it as he is now.

"I'm just trying to keep working hard and doing whatever I can to help my team win games," Bradley told CSNNE.com. "If that's playing good defense, scoring, whatever it is, I'm willing to do. As far as scoring, my teammates are doing a great job of finding me."

Bradley has had a number of solid games scoring, but none compare to the career-high 23 points he scored in Boston's win over Washington on March 25.

As you watched Bradley score at will against the woeful Wizards, it all seemed to come so easy for him.

He'd run from one sideline to the other, and when Rajon Rondo or Paul Pierce penetrated the lane, he'd find an avenue to fill, they would pass him the ball . . . lay-up.

Over. And over. And over again.

Everyone seemed impressed by Bradley's ability to score except Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman, who was not all that impressed with Bradley's career night scoring.

"I could have scored those lay-ups," Wittman said at the time. "I am being serious. We didn't have anybody guarding him. He ought to send us a postcard of thank-yous or something for allowing him to score."

While Bradley will likely go back to the bench with Allen expected to start tonight, you can expect him to continue to find ways to make an impact, one cut at a time.

"It's like something has been freed up in him," Rivers said. "He sees it now. He reads it, and he's fantastic at it now."

Brown earns spot on NBA's all-rookie second team

Brown earns spot on NBA's all-rookie second team

BOSTON – Drafted with the third overall pick by a playoff team like the Boston Celtics, the expectations for Jaylen Brown were limited as best. 

But the 6-foot-7 rookie showed steady improvement throughout the season, and his hard work was rewarded on Monday with a spot on the NBA’s all-rookie second team. 

Joining Brown on the second team were Denver’s Jamal Murray, Phoenix forward Marquese Chriss, Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram and Dallas’s Yogi Ferrell. 

The first team consisted of Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon and Philadelphia’s Dario Saric who were the only two unanimous selections to the first unit. They were joined by Sixers big man Joel Embiid, Sacramento’s Buddy Hield and New York center Willy Hernangomez. 

Brogdon, Saric and Embiid are the three finalists for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award which will be announced tonight during the league’s NBA Awards show at 9 p.m. tonight on TNT.

Brown appeared in 78 games for the Celtics with 20 starts, averaging 6.6 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.

Blakely: Bradley not letting trade rumors get to him

Blakely: Bradley not letting trade rumors get to him

WALTHAM, Mass. – No matter what Mother Nature is doing weather-wise, Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley has been around the NBA long enough to know that the potential to be traded is always in season.

This summer has been no different, with Bradley being among the Boston players whose name has been included in several rumored trades.

“I try not to worry about it too much because it’s out of my control at the end of the day,” Bradley said after his basketball camp at Brandeis University with additional camps in Trinadad having been completed with additional ones this summer in Tacoma, Washington and Vancouver.

Bradley is entering the final year of the 4-year, $32 million deal he signed in 2014.

And make no mistake about it.

Bradley is going to get paid a lot, whether it’s by the Celtics or another team.

His steady improvement from one year to the next has been a constant for the 26-year-old who last season was named to the NBA’s all-Defensive first team.

But he knows the Celtics’ brass well enough that if they see a chance to significantly upgrade the roster, they won’t hesitate to trade anyone, himself included.

“I don’t worry about it,” Bradley said. “I know that was the case and I get traded, the Celtics are going to do what’s best for them and I’m going to have to do what’s best for me if I’m put in a different situation.

He added, “our job is to play basketball, not worry about trades. I just try to focus on that.”

Having been in the NBA for seven years, Bradley acknowledged it does get easier to put the trade speculation in perspective over time.

“It’s part of the business, man,” he said. “You just to accept and understand that your name is going to be thrown in trade talk. You can get traded at any time. You just have to be prepared and focus on just being the best player that you can be.”

That approach has been critical to Bradley’s steady improvement as an NBA player who began his career as someone who was charged with playing elite defense, into one of the better two-way talents in the league.

Last season, Bradley averaged a career-high 16.3 points per game along with 6.1 rebounds which was also a career-high.

This season, Bradley has a long list of areas he wants to improve upon, with finishing at the rim near the top of the list.

Looking at his track record, you can count on that area of his game showing noticeable improvement.

And whether it’ll manifest itself while he’s a Celtic, remains to be seen.

“It doesn’t matter if you get traded or where you end up,” Bradley said. “If you’re prepared to be in any situation you’ll be fine.”