The All-Star game was a predictable confluence of basketball suck: no defense, big men attempting to handle and dribble in the open court, selfish play, but Avery Bradley showed me what I needed to see.
What I saw:
Well, aside from scoring 15 points and grabbing 5 boards while playing completely within the game and shooting a very high percentage...
Bradley is a big time finisher. I'm not talking about the ability to dunk either. We will think his full name is Avery Bradley And 1. He will take you to the rack, extend, force your foul, score, and head to the foul line.
He defends and does the necessary dirty work. Eastern dribblers fled him like Nanking before the Japanese rolled in and he picked two pockets in the second half when fools tried to test him. He had three steals overall and his long arms and quickness are a bitch in the passing lanes when he's off-the-ball. He's also a hard-nosed kid and has no problem heading into the paint to rebound.
Unselfish. He actually D'ed up and was very unselfish in creating for teammates. He refused to play one-on-one and was one of the few players on the West looking to aggressively cut, create movement, and serve it up to others.
Solid shooting touch. Drained a long three and a 19 footer.
This kid is a creature of the full court and he's a smart player. He can fly and handle. Add long arms and cookie-thief fingers and you have a guard that a coach dreams about pressuring with. You also have a guy that you can turn to in the crunch. Think Juan Dixon from Maryland three inches taller.
Really interesting pair.
Keith Gallon is a super-skilled 6-8+ semi-fat body with great small skills for a guy his size. He nailed a three, showed a handle, showed strength on the block, and played no defense at all. Almost defiant in his unwillingess to attempt defense. Amazingly, this was actually better defense than Renardo Sydney played.
Tommy Mason-Griffin experienced athletic long defenders and it gave him a lot of trouble. He also looks to be a true 5-9 - if not 5-8 - with short arms. His selfish attempt to win the game at the end with a do-it-himself 3 was typical All-Star Game buffoonery. He looked overmatched though he clearly has point guard skills. Take that for what it's worth. We're talking about a freaking All-Star game, after all.
Both Sooners are really interesting for their skills, shooting, and ability to create, but both are massive defensive liabilities and I question whether their respective offensive skills sets hit a wall against a certain level of competition.
All in all, pleased as fucking punch with Avery Bradley, thanks very much. You should be too. He will be a fan favorite very quickly.