Avery Bradley is one of the most tenacious perimeter defenders in the NBA. The Boston Celtics shooting guard has long arms, quick feet, good strength, and his instincts match the homework he does on every single scorer he’s assigned to slow down. The Celtics never have to worry about Bradley not being in a good position defensively or that a guy may be too much for him on any given night, no matter whom the opponent is. That’s a fantastic luxury to have on that end of the floor.
One of the reasons Bradley is so good defensively is because he’s simply not afraid of anybody put in front of him. Even in today’s NBA in which the defensive rules are designed to give the ball handler the advantage because you can’t hand-check, Bradley isn’t worried about getting embarrassed by Kyrie Irving or anybody with a great handle. He doesn’t get embarrassed; he just gets hungry for the next possession to stop that guy. Via Tom Westerholm of MassLive.com:
One of his secrets? Bradley said he isn’t afraid of getting embarrassed.
“I love the challenge,” Bradley said on Friday, making an appearance at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “I love going up against the best players. I don’t care who it is. I don’t care about getting embarrassed. I don’t care. Kyrie Irving, none of those guys scare me. I know some players in the NBA probably get butterflies before the game, but not me. I’m licking my lips. I come excited. They need to prepare for me at the end of the day. That’s how I think.”
He’s one of the few guards in the NBA who can pick up a point guard full court and not be worried about getting burned. His constant pressure on the man dribbling the ball up the floor isn’t just something that can wear them down physically with the extra effort, but it can also wear them down mentally because of the amount of focus it takes to just do basic dribbling against Bradley in a game. His teammates tried to warn him at a young age in the NBA to not pressure certain guys.
Kevin Garnett once told him not to try that against Jason Kidd because he’d get embarrassed. Bradley didn’t listen and he also didn’t get embarrassed. He just got the ball a couple of times and then got cussed out. Also from MassLive.com:
Bradley recalled an instance in one of his first games, facing Jason Kidd. His teammates, including Kevin Garnett, warned Bradley not to play his trademark full-court defense, saying that Kidd might embarrass him. Bradley, however, didn’t listen.
“I picked him up full court twice and ripped him twice in a row,” Bradley said. “Their coach called timeout, and he started cussing me out like, ‘You don’t ever pick me up like that, young boy.’ I’m like ‘Man, what did I do?'”
He’s twice been on an All-Defensive team in his career. In the 2012-13 season, Bradley was named to the All-Defense Second Team. This past season, he was named to the All-NBA First Team. It’s pretty difficult for someone on the perimeter, especially a guard, to be named Defensive Player of the Year, but it feels like if anybody can do it in today’s NBA, it’s Bradley.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Celtics’ Avery Bradley isn’t scared of getting embarrassed on defense