The Boston Celtics finished the regular season on a high note last year, winning 14 of their final 19 games. It gave the team a burst of momentum that carried them to within one game of their third NBA Finals trip since 2008.
It also gave the Celtics a glimpse into the potential of Avery Bradley.
Or perhaps, it was merely a mirage.
Over the final 15 games of the season, Bradley averaged 15.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals over 32.9 minutes per game. He also shot 52 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from three-point range.
Throughout the year, when Boston needed a big stop, Bradley stepped up. Then all of a sudden, when the team needed a big shot, Bradley stepped up.
Slowly but surely, he was transforming into the kind of player who could produce at a high level on both ends of the floor. A player who could successfully take away points from the opposition and contribute them to his own team instead. Those players were hard to come by.
And to think, this kid had just turne...