Avery Bradley did not earn Doc Rivers’ trust last season. But before the NBA lockout kept teams from speaking with their coaches, Bradley visited Orlando to spend time with Rivers and try to create a bond. (ESPN)
“It was cool, I was just trying to build a relationship with him,” the just-turned 21-year-old Bradley said Friday of time he spent with coach Doc Rivers. “It was a good experience. I got to work out with both of his sons and play pick-up with a few NBA players down there. It was a good experience. But like I said, for the most part, I was just trying to go down there and start a relationship with Doc, which I felt like I did.” …
“I feel like if someone has trust in you off the court, they’ll be able to trust you on the court,” said Bradley. “That was the main thing for me, to just build that relationship with Doc, let him know how much I want to play. I feel like he’s seen that, now I just have to prove it on the court. When I come in here, from Day 1, I have to go hard and show him that I improved over the summer and, not only that, but I’m looking to improve throughout the year.”
Bradley desperately wants to succeed. He went to play in Israel. He spent time in the Impact Basketball League. He traveled to Orlando
to sit in the front of the class and give Doc an apple to earn Doc’s trust and show him how badly he wanted to succeed. I’m rooting for the kid, not just because his evolution would make Boston a stronger team, but because he’s the type of person willing to work out with Doc Rivers’ sons just to prove how badly he wants to earn a spot in Boston’s rotation.
But the key words in his quote were these: “now I just have to prove it on the court.” Doc didn’t keep Bradley on the bench because he didn’t like him. He kept Bradley on the bench because Bradley’s a point guard who doesn’t know how to play point guard. Because Bradley’s handle is shaky, his jumper’s suspect and his rugged defense wasn’t enough to outweigh his shortcomings running an offense. No matter how much time Bradley spent in Orlando — don’t misunderstand me: I LOVE the commitment Bradley’s visit showed, and I LOVE that Doc Rivers is willing to host his players during the offseason — his playing time will be determined by how much he improved during the offseason.
P.S. — I’m half joking, but how badly do you think Bradley got eaten alive by Austin Rivers?