At only 6 feet 2 inches and less than 180 pounds, Bradley has proven himself to be an exceptional defender in his first three years in the NBA, even being named to the NBA's All-Defensive Second Team in 2012-2013. But despite his early success, Bradley has yet to develop a consistent game on offense and still struggles to shoot from beyond 15 feet on a regular basis.
It's tough to remember when watching Avery Bradley that he is still only 22 years old, the same age as some college basketball seniors about to start their final season. His toughness and grit on the floor is reminiscent of a steely veteran defender who knows his role on the floor and has maxed out his potential.
But forget what you have seen from Bradley in the past. This offseason, he is on a mission to remind the world why he was one of the elite high school recruits just four years ago when he first entered the University of Texas.
Comcast Sports Net New England's A. Sherrod Blakely is reporting via Twitter that Bradley has been conducting two-a-day workouts since the season ended in May with only three weeks of rest. He has also been doing a significant amount of weightlifting and has implemented a diet designed to get bigger and stronger. The regiment is working; Bradley now weighs 196 pounds, a significant gain from the 180 pounds he ended the season with.
All indications are that Bradley is about to have a career season. He shot a career-best 44.2 percent from mid-range in 2012-2013, up from 42.1 percent in 2011-2012. His averages in assists and steals per-36 minutes increased as well last year to career highs, and his turnover rate also dropped by the same measure from 2 turnovers every 36 minutes to 1.8 turnovers.
Improvement couldn't come at a better time for both the Celtics and Bradley. Bradley is in the last year of his current contract, and Boston is likely going to be without All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo until December, if the recent reports are accurate. The current situation provides Bradley with a perfect opportunity to show the basketball world that he can lead an NBA franchise on the court, play even more physically on defense, and shoot more consistently for the entirety of the season.
Judging by the intensity of his offseason workouts, Bradley is well aware of the opportunity in front of him and is determined not to let it pass by.
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Justin Haskins is a New England native and a freelance journalist. He has been obsessively following Boston professional sports for 10 years and has been published in numerous online publications and websites.Statistics provided by Basketball-reference.com and NBA.com.
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