By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
LAS VEGAS If Avery Bradley wasn't here, he would be somewhere working on his body, working on his game.
You look at the names of players participating in the Impact Basketball Training Series this week, and there's not a single soul here without something to prove.
Bradley is no different.
A former first-round pick who has played sparingly after two seasons in the NBA, Bradley is optimistic this will be his breakout season.
Day 1 was a decent start for Bradley, who had 16 points. But it wasn't enough for the win, as Bradley's team lost 102-86, with the winning team being led by Detroit's Austin Daye, who had 30 points and 10 rebounds.
"It's hard to play, because we're all guards for the most part out here, but it was fun," he said. "We're all out here having fun, trying to get in shape; get in better shape. We're having fun."
The next couple of weeks are just building blocks, he says, in his preparation for the upcoming NBA season. And while the labor stalemate has put the start of the season in limbo, it has had little impact on Bradley or his plans for next season - whenever that season begins.
For the past couple of years, Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge have preached patience, telling him that his time to play will come eventually.
Bradley has gone along with the plan.
The NBA is big on potential -- that'll get you in. But if you want to stick around, sooner or later, you have to produce.
For Bradley, that time is now. And that time is spent in this sweat box known as Las Vegas, working diligently to chisel out his frame and his game.
"That's what I'm doing, little things like this," Bradley told CSNNE.com. "I can come out, try and get better all the time."
And he's doing it against a nice mix of young and not-so-young NBA players, including good friend Isaiah Thomas, who was the last player drafted in June's NBA draft.
On Monday, the 5-foot-9 Thomas led the Purple team to a 90-81 win with 28 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Thomas played with Bradley afterward, and had 26 points and 7 assists.
"We play pick-up basketball all the time," said Bradley who, like Thomas, is from the Seattle area. "We're just trying to get each other better."
For Bradley, part of that improvement centers around filling whatever role the Celtics need for him to play. Up to this point in his career, he has been a seldom-used, high energy guy. Bradley is out to show that there's more - a lot more - to his game.
From the day the C's used the No. 19 pick in the 2009 NBA draft to select Bradley, Rivers said he had the tools to defend at the NBA level immediately. But Bradley - who at one point was the No. 1 high school player in the country - also has the ability to score, something he showed flashes of on Monday.
"Once I learn to do that with the Celtics, I'll be fine," Bradley said. "I think everything will be easier for me."