Miami Heat star Avery Bradley has bounced around the NBA with different teams over the past few years, however, when the small forward was drafted 19th overall during the 2010 NBA Draft, he was picked up by the Boston Celtics, where he played for the first seven years of his professional career.
As Bradley and the Heat prepare to take on the Celtics on Wednesday night, which teammate Bam Adebayo dubbed a “grudge match,” as he believes Boston must have “a chip on their shoulder” after Miami eliminated them in the Eastern Conference Finals just a few months back, the University of Texas at Austin alum only has fond memories of his time in Boston.
“I mean, that’s my home,” Bradley said.
“Being there for seven years, they’re still always going to mean something to me. Once (coach) Brad [Stevens] got there, it was similar to the philosophy here: taking advantage of every opportunity, next guy up, be aggressive, no shot is a bad shot. He fueled every single guy with confidence. This league is built off of confidence and opportunity, and Brad really helped every single person on that team.”
Adebayo Is Confident that Bradley’s a ‘Heat Man’
While Bradley greatly enjoyed his time with the Celtics and has played with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Detroit Pistons, and the Memphis Grizzlies, Adebayo says he’s in deep with the Heat.
Bradley, 30, who spent last season playing with the Los Angeles Lakers, the franchise which beat the Heat for the NBA Championship, signed with the Miami Heat in free agency on November 23, 2020. While Bradley earned a championship ring with the Lakers, he wasn’t on the court during the Finals against Miami. Bradley opted out of playing NBA bubble out of concern for his family’s health amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Even though Bradley has only been with the Heat for a few weeks, “He’s a Heat guy,” Adebayo said. “You know that by looking at Avery and his reputation. But talking to Avery, he’s such a down-to-earth dude. He stresses himself out sometimes trying to do the right thing all the time and every time he steps out on the court. I can be a teammate with a guy like that.”
“He wants to win,” Adebayo continued. “He wants to figure out the best ways to put us in a position to win. He wants to guard whoever he has to, to give us a chance to win. I feel like he can be first-team All-Defense.”
Coach Spo Said Bradley’s Transition to the Heat was Practically Seamless
While Bradley has earned the respect of his teammates, Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra is also singing his praises.
“I’m not trying to reinvent him,” Spoelstra said on January 6. “He’s been a great shooter, really for the last several years. And I think our offense appealed to him, because it allows him just to be who he is, as a cutter, a guy that can move without the ball, a guy that can come off handoffs. And he’s a great spot-up shooter, when he plays on a team when the ball moves and it’ll find the open guy.”
“That’s one of the reasons why we liked him, too,” Spoelstra continued. “We thought not only defensively could he really help us, but offensively he fits…. It didn’t take us very long, in our practices, to all recognize, that, ‘Ah, OK, that’s exactly what an All-Defensive player looks like.’”
Even though the Heat have only played six regular-season games, Coach Spo loves Bradley’s “tenacity, his ability to get under you and speed you up. And I think that’s the part of his defensive greatness, is his ability to defend bigger players and use his speed, quickness, technique, to really be a nuisance.”
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