On offense, Avery Bradley has had to focus more on playing point guard and not shooting guard, which is his natural position.
On defense, Bradley has had to learn to play more off the ball rather guard whoever had it, especially opposing point guards — and that goes against how the Celtics’ defensive ace has played for most of his life.
And Bradley, who is entering his fourth year with the Celtics, just completed the first exhibition season of his NBA career, as injuries hindered him in prior seasons.
All in all, it’s been a whirlwind for the former Texas standout and first-round draft pick, but coach Brad Stevens said Bradley has handled all the change well.
“I’ve really enjoyed coaching Avery because he’s been really receptive to being coached,” Stevens said before practice Friday.
Bradley noted that he’s not the only player who’s adjusting; everyone else on the team has had to, as well, with a new coach and system.
“We’re all open to learning because we know we all need each other,” he said. “Me, being a four-year guy, I know that I have to adjust to the new system a little faster, being one of the leaders on the team.”
After going through his first exhibition season, Bradley also said that his body has held up just fine and that he was able to get some rust off from the offseason, but there have been other benefits, too.
“Going out there and being able to take chances on offense, and do things that I’m not comfortable doing so that once the regular season starts I know what I can do, my strengths, and hopefully everything will feel more comfortable out there,” he said.
“I feel a lot more comfortable at the point guard position this year, and I think that’s because of the coach and my teammates, more confidence.”
Bradley averaged 10.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists over about 25 minutes per game in the eight exhibition games. He has shared point guard duties with Jordan Crawford, but has handled the bulk of the work.
And having a bigger role is something that Stevens said Bradley has to become more comfortable with, considering what Bradley can do.
“When you have elite ability, part of that is being versatile, part of that is being able to do a lot of different things,” Stevens said. “He has that.”
Gerald Wallace sat out for the second straight practice, again wearing a boot on his left foot as a precautionary measure for his left ankle, which he said has been bothering him all summer.
The Celtics are off this weekend, and Stevens said he has been told that all players will be available when practice resumes Monday.
Wallace is known for his aggressive — if sometimes reckless — style that has led to several injuries throughout his 12-year NBA career; hence his nickname, “Crash.”
But the 31-year-old said he doesn’t try to manage his body during the season, even though he puts it through the wringer.
“Nah, I do that in the offseason,” he said. “Right now, I just play and deal with it as it comes.”
The season opener against the Raptors in Toronto next Wednesday will be Boston’s third game in Canada in three weeks. The other two were exhibition contests, Oct. 16 against the Raptors in Toronto and Oct. 20 against Minnesota in Montreal. It would seem the basketball gods have been with rookie center Kelly Olynyk, who was born in Toronto. But the 7-footer countered with a smile, “I would say all these guys have the basketball gods in their corner because they have the whole year in their country.” . . . The Celtics held their annual open practice for season ticket-holders at TD Garden. Stevens said there was a similar event when he coached at Butler, an open scrimmage. “But we never did the Midnight Madness thing,” he said. “We always used to get together on that first practice day and say that our madness is in March here, so we just went to work.”
Having a ball
Olynyk and Rajon Rondo both attended Game 2 of the World Series Thursday and sat in the Green Monster seats at Fenway Park. “It was fun, I’ve never been to a World Series game before,” Olynyk said . . . Vitor Faverani said an MRI on his lower back came back negative and that he feels fine. He participated in practice and moved well . . . The Celtics raised more than $800,000 for area children’s charities at their annual Shamrock Gala Thursday night that was presented by New England Baptist Hospital.Baxter Holmes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter @BaxterHolmes.