On a team known for its experience – and bad knees – Avery Bradley is an anomaly. The 21-year-old combo guard is the youngest player on the Celtics’ roster. In fact, it was just three years ago that Bradley was putting up 19.1 points per game at Findlay Prep, a feat that earned him the No. 1 ranking in the ESPNU 100, four spots ahead of John Wall.
Like Wall, Bradley made the jump to the NBA after one year of college, getting selected by the Celtics at No. 19 out of Texas. But unlike Wall, Bradley has not been handed over the keys to the team bus. Instead, he has been forced to take on a much humbler role, playing with Boston’s second unit.
Now in his second season in the league, Bradley is beginning to establish himself as an important role player for the C’s, providing stifling on-ball defense in 9.4 minutes per game off the bench. We caught up with Bradley to find out how he’s adjusting to life with the Celtics, what music he’s bumping before games and what he does around Boston in his free time.
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Dime: What’s it like playing with a point guard like Rajon Rondo?
Avery Bradley: I can pick his brain so it’s a great opportunity for me and I’m making the most out of it.
Dime: What sort of music are you listening to these days before games?
AB: Man, you wanna know something? I don’t really listen to music before the game. I mean, I play it in my car on the way to the arena, but I don’t really listen to music before the game. I’m usually working out or lifting weights. When I’m chilling I listen to an artist named Nipsey Hussle. Nipsey Hussle that’s all I listen to. You know I’m a West Coast dude; he’s a West Coast dude. He’s an underground rapper. I listen to him. I listen to Lil Boosie. I listen to Young Jeezy. That’s about it. But the Nipsey Hussle, that’s what I bump before games sometimes. He’s cool, man. He’s good.
Dime: What do you like to do around Boston when you’re not balling?
AB: Nothing, man. I sit at home, watch movies, go to the movies. That’s about it, man. It’s boring out here.
Dime: Seen anything good recently?
AB: The new Mission: Impossible. That movie was alright.
Dime: What’s it like being around a lot of older guys on the Celtics? Do they ever rag on you for being a young dude?
AB: Yeah, all the time, all the time. ‘Cause you know even the rookies (E’Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson and Greg Stiemsma) are older than me. I just turned 21 so it’s crazy, man. But you know, I’m used to it. We’re all professionals in here. We all grown men, so that’s how we look at it. But at the same time, I’m in here with Hall of Famers, so it’s crazy. They’re just real good people to meet. We just all brothers in here, so it’s cool.
Dime: Who is the best-dressed Celtic, in your opinion?
AB: It used to be Delonte [West]. Probably Jermaine O’Neal, hands down. He’s just fresh all the time, all the time. I mean, all the time. We could be going somewhere that he don’t need to be fresh, and he’s always dressed. He’s got a lot of money, so he stays in Gucci, all that stuff.
Dime: What about the worst dressed?
AB: Man, I’m not saying that. (laughs) I’m not saying that one. Not letting that one get out.
Dime: I heard that Danny Ainge has been talking to you a lot. What does he tell you? What’s his advice for you?
AB: He just motivates me. He tells me to stay up, lets me know things that he went through when he played. It’s all motivational stuff. Trying to keep me positive. ‘Cause at first I was down ’cause I wasn’t playing. I didn’t know what I needed to do, and so he just helps guide me just like my teammates and just like Doc [Rivers]. They all help me out. All the coaches.
Dime: What aspects of your game are you trying to work on and improve?
AB: Every part. Obviously defense is my strength, but I still need to improve on that. I need to improve on offense. Every part. I feel like if you play this game, you should want to improve all the time. You should never feel like you don’t need to improve.
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