Avery Bradley appeared lost and hesitant at times last year, like the high schooler who forgot to do his homework. The raw nature of his play wasn’t stunning — after just one season at Texas, and a so-so-season at that, Bradley entered the NBA with a higher learning curve than most first-round draft picks.
His coach, Doc Rivers, is not known for having an affinity for rookies, especially rookies like Bradley who need to learn a position on the fly. Joining a championship contender, backing up a budding All-Star, and missing training camp due to an ankle injury, Bradley played catch-up all season.
After Bradley appeared in just 31 games for Boston, playing just 162 minutes all season most of them with the game already out of hand, he said people from Texas told him he should have stayed in school. Bradley heard the criticism, sure. But he said he will only use it as motivation. (ESPN The Magazine)
“As a one-and-done guy, people know that you’re not experienced. Right when you get to the NBA, people just assume that you don’t know as much about the game as other players, which you don’t. But if you’re a college guy that’s done three or four years, you’re gonna know a lot about the game. A lot of the Texas fans were excited. But as my rookie season went on and I wasn’t playing, they started saying that I should’ve stayed in school. My whole life I’ve always been the underdog, so I take that as motivation.”
When Bradley says, “My whole life I’ve always been the underdog,” he really means, “I was rated higher than John Wall in high school.”
That being said, he’s the underdog now. And though he didn’t come prepared for class last year, Bradley needs to cram for next season’s examination. In year two and beyond, the teachers — err, Doc Rivers and the Celtics coaching staff — will expect him to contribute.