During his rookie season, Avery Bradley often seemed to play with all the confidence of a stuttering, unprepared student whose palms start to pour sweat every time he’s called on to speak in front of the class. Every move Bradley made seemed hesitant. Every shot he took seemed second-guessed. His defense was always rugged, but that’s the aspect of basketball least affected by nerves. When his number was called offensively, Bradley was either A) nervous, or B) hopelessly inadequate, and as a Celtics fan I’d like to think it was the former.
He says it was. There were some practices when Bradley became so nervous he didn’t want to participate. (Boston Herald)
“It was real important for me [to go overseas],” he said. “I got a chance to play point guard, play 30 minutes a game, and (work on) parts of my game I wasn’t able to work on last year.
“Going there that was one thing my agent told them — that I needed to play point guard,” Bradley said. “That helped my confidence level. Coming into this year I’ll have more confidence playing against these guys. Last year I was a little nervous because of the people on our team. Some practices I didn’t even want to get in because I was so nervous. Now I feel like I’ll be ready. Everything I can learn from Rondo I’ll take and put into my game.”
Bradley was a 19-year old rookie playing alongside four first-ballot Hall of Famers, so nerves were expected. But he needs to become confident and he needs to do so quickly. The NBA isn’t the place for people afraid to hear a coach call their names. It’s the place for conscience-less souls who can miss seven consecutive jumpers and know the eighth is going down.