I’m a big basketball fan. My favorite team is the Boston Celtics. If you are a fan of the NBA and follow the professional game at all, you know that the Celtics are one of the league’s iconic teams.
Like all organizations that have been around for any length of time, there are those periods when you lose your way, requiring reassessment and analysis to figure out what’s gone wrong. That’s where the Celtics were at during the summer of 2007 after closing out a dismal 2006-2007 season with a record of 24-58 in April, one of the worst Celtics’ seasons ever.
The team’s general manager, Danny Ainge, who had played for the Celtics during the Larry Bird glory years in the 1980s knew something had to be done and made a couple of amazing chess moves on the personnel side. This resulted in the long-awaited 17th banner that fans had been clamoring for since 1986, the last year the storied team won a championship.
The two key pieces that brought Boston an NBA title were Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. These two, along with veteran Celtics forward Paul Pierce, formed what became known as the Big Three and teamed with rising star, Rajon Rondo, creating the nucleus for what most fans thought would be a run of multiple titles. Unfortunately, injuries prevented the team from repeating in 2009. This group followed that season up with a run to the finals in 2010, losing in Game 7 to the hated Lakers. Last season, a late season trade, with Ainge rolling the dice didn’t work out and the club got knocked out in the conference semi-finals.
This year’s team is one year older. The veteran core of three future hall-of-famers—Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett—represent a lot of NBA mileage on their resumes. This year’s lock out and late start introduced another element into the mix. When they started the season, Allen, Pierce and Garnett looked very old and out of sync. The team struggled, Rondo got hurt, and the roster got thinner as other key players went down with injuries and health problems.
The silver lining to all of this was that a young guard out of Texas, who last season spent a stretch in the D-League got some playing time. He struggled offensively, but his defense, always his strong point, showed that he had value on this team.
Like all young players coming out of college prior to their graduating class, Bradley had to figure out his game at the highest level. His confidence suffered, especially offensively. Getting extended minutes and given that the club’s depleted roster, Bradley began finding his offense.
The best part is that Bradley’s inspired play is meshing nicely with a team that’s been playing their best basketball of late. The veterans have rounded into shape and are healthy. Garnett is playing his finest basketball since donning a Boston uniform, Pierce has become a scoring force again, and Rondo is on an extended streak of double-figure assist games, and Bradley now finds himself starting alongside Rondo, with Ray Allen coming off the bench. This was one of those moves that a great coach like Doc Rivers makes, knowing it will pay dividends for his team. All of this bodes well for fans as the club appears poised for another run deep into the postseason.
As Bradley’s game has blossomed and his stock has risen, others have begun paying attention to this 21-year-old off guard out of Texas. Last week, he was interviewed on WEEI, on the Mut and Merloni program.
What struck me, besides his humility, was Bradley’s recognition that one of his roles for this team is to bring energy every night. With a veteran team that sometimes starts slow at the beginning of games, Bradley has to be in the face and harassing his opponent, like he did when matched up with perennial all-star, Dwayne Wade, on national Tee Vee. Check out his highlight reel block below.
Every organization needs someone “bringing the energy.” Too often, employees are sleep-walking through their tasks and assignments and your organization or company suffers because of it. Performance is negatively affected and it impacts your bottom line or your ability to provide value to your customers.
Like Avery Bradley, the JBE is all about energy and passion, whether consulting on a project, providing support to your staff with social media, or helping your people recognize the importance of bringing a new level of commitment and energy to their roles.