Take a look at the Celtics’ top three scorers and you’ll notice one commonality as Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum each attended just one year of college.
And while the trend of one and dones to the NBA increases, it was the familiar and original face of that movement that returned to Boston on Monday night: Avery Bradley.
“It’s just a great feeling to be back in the city of Boston period,” Bradley said of returning. “The [fans] appreciate the players that play here and we appreciate them for that.”
Moved to the Pistons this past summer after 413 regular-season games in Boston, Bradley was part of a flurry of moves that wound up bringing Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving to Boston.
Bradley was honored with a short video tribute before being introduced during the starting lineups, and was met with a standing ovation.
Selected 19th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft, Bradley was the first player to be drafted by the Celtics after playing just one season of college hoops. Save for Al Jefferson and Gerald Green, Bradley was at the time the youngest player (19 years old) drafted by the Celtics. First coached as an energy player by Doc Rivers, Bradley spent his last four seasons in Boston under Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, who acknowledged Bradley’s growth over that four-year span and now with the Pistons in a leading role.
“Obviously you’re very thankful and appreciate all that he did here, and when you start preparing for him you realize it was a lot more fun when you weren’t preparing for him.” Stevens said before tipoff. “He’s a good player and deserves the applause.”
Since being drafted, Celtics fans have enjoyed homegrown talent such as Bradley succeed. His role increased every season, culminating with a career best year of 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc last season. Bradley also garnered NBA All-Defensive Team honors twice in the Celtic uniform (and was probably robbed last season).
“He had a great impact on us,” Stevens said.
Bradley said he keeps in touch with many of his former teammates including Brown, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart and others.
“This sport makes you like a family,” Bradley said. “You’re with each other all year. You care about each other and build relationships.”
And 19 games into his non-Celtic NBA career, Bradley is once again putting up career numbers as an eight year veteran. The primary scoring option in Detroit, Bradley is scoring at just under 17 points per game, including seven 20-plus point outings.
“He’s exactly what we expected, which is good because we expected a lot,” said Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy. “He’s a guy that all the time comes to play, comes to work all the time serious, he’s unselfish, he plays hard. There’s no negative on him.”
While Bradley’s number zero likely won’t be raised to the rafters, especially with Tatum wearing it now, Bradley is certainly missed on Causeway Street.
He’s a free agent after this season, but it seems as Boston is simply a former home.
“All these years here helped me grow to a certain point in my life as a man and as a basketball player,” Bradley said. “Now I’m moving on to Detroit who’s gonna help me grow to the next level.”
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Full article @ Avery Bradley appreciated time in Boston, fully embracing Detroit
Source: GreenStreet Blog