The Boston Celtics embody and represent a lot of different things, people throw around terms like "hard worker" or "passionate" along with many others when associating this fabled franchise with common terminology but theres much more to the story. People argue daily about their respective teams and what it means to be part of their fan base but nothing comes even remotely close to the Celtics and only recently was I reminded of that. The seasons struggles have been well documented for the C's and the team was burdened with many difficult obstacles that helped them plummet down the standings. Things looked bleak with players being suspended, the offense sputtering and worst off the defense wilting under pressure. Most teams fold at that point, most teams bicker and point fingers while coaches get fired and players get regulated to the bench; the Celtics aren't most teams.
The Celtics don't have other teams players and don't carry themselves in any other fashion then that of a true champion. Great players have come through many different franchises but theres always something special about a talent in Boston. A true Celtic is a special thing and at that players heart is everything the Celtics truly are; the underdog, the little guy that was doubted but pulled through and the hard worker with a motor for a heart. The Celtics aren't just talent or a vertical or a jumpshot their a culture a way of life, their Ubuntu.
This leads to todays players, Kevin Garnett is the quintessential person chosen as the manifestation of what it means to be a Celtic but the time is coming where some other guys need to be heralded for what they've done.
"He’s very poised. You’re not going to get under his skin, not going to rush him. Just when you think he’s backing down, he’s in your face. "
“Anytime you’re playing defense, anytime you're stealing the ball, rebounding…all that’s effort."
"He comes in with a chip," Rivers said. "If he comes out as a [freshman], he's probably [No.] 1, 2 or 3. He comes out the next year, he falls all the way down to 21. I think there's a lot of things at play with Jared. I think he's getting better, obviously, in front of our eyes, and he's going to keep getting better. And his focus is what's improved to me; he's focused on every possession."
Numbers never lie, but sometimes people wait to long on the numbers, avoiding the potential and missing something special right there. Sully wasn't putting up jaw dropping numbers a few months ago but there was something there. Some people appreciated it and it quickly endeared him to them while others grew impatient. It didn't slip by me though, his play his work ethic his commitment to listen were things that quickly caught my attention. He was everything players like Glen Davis weren't, someone that not only spoke about and followed the Celtic culture but FULLY engulfed himself in it. Sully truly loves listening, rebounding and doing whatever the team needs and not just when things are going well. A Celtic is someone that puts that effort and commitment on the darkest of days and Sully, as a rookie, as a rookie that could have gone number 1overall the year before, on this team embodies just that.
Now people always say it takes two to tango and that things always come better in two's and with the Celtics it's no different. Like many others I too missed what Avery Bradley would actually bring to this team. We throw around his plus/minus his individual defensive stats and try to see how they would affect the team with numbers but that where we lose sight of what Bradley really is. A Celtic. I'm not big on fate or destiny but Avery Bradley was born to be a Celtic. Could you imagine his talents and motor being wasted on any other franchise? In Miami where he would be regulated to the bench because his three point numbers aren't as good as those of Ray Allen's numbers? Or in New York where he wouldn't put up the flashy numbers like JR or three pointers like Novak and turned on by the fans? Maybe in LA where he would be Kobe's whipping boy and the guy ordered to run around and play defense while the rest of the team lays back and watches?
Avery Bradley is a Celtic because he brings to this team what few players can, Michael Felger a sports analyst for CSN was recently on air criticizing the " C teamers" for being too quick to label Bradley untouchable. Siting the fact that he isn't truly a superstar and that fans are too fond of latching on too players that aren't that good. He correctly pointed out his low scoring numbers and statistical plights as a young guard but that type of thinking is what separates the Celtics from other franchises. How many Avery Bradley's are there really in the NBA? A guy you feel confident could guard the best of the league's superstars for TRULEY 48 minutes need be? What guy disrupts an offenses as consistently as Bradley and causes opposing guards to ask him to cut it out? There aren't a lot, Tony Allen a former Celtic comes to mind but not many others. Guys can play defense but in spurts, when there are perfect conditions Bradley does it night in and night out, just like a Ray Allen three is nearly guaranteed so is Avery's effort and that alone is what makes him untouchable for the C's.
"But because of Avery, every other person's defense has picked up. And that's sort of KG-like." - Danny Ainge
" Avery Bradley could be the best on ball defender in the NBA" - Jeff Van Gundy
Avery Bradley isn't a LeBron James Kevin Durant or any other superstar this league has to offer but he is a Celtic, a true Celtic and that makes his presence and game as dominate as any others in the league. He and Jared Sullinger are guys I hope are with the C's for a very long time because guys like that just find ways to win. These guys will always have a label follow them some small association that keeps people from really understanding what they bring and those are the players Celtics fans should really be rooting for. The Celtics will go far this year, their damage will be felt in the playoffs and they'll surprise quite a few people I can guarantee it, and thats only because I know I have Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger battling with the team.
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