COMMENTARY | For a team that just started rebuilding, theBoston Celtics could be doing much worse.
There are some quality, young pieces on the roster, and the team is loaded with draft picks that it acquired in various deals. This process isn't easy, even though teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder make it look simple.
Avery Bradley is one of the more intriguing pieces. Prior to this season, he has been mostly a defensive specialist with a very limited offensive game. Despite his size, it's clear that he can't play the point guard position. Bradley hasn't shown the ability to run an offense effectively, and his ball handling hasn't improved much during his time in the NBA.
In the past, Bradley has played shooting guard next to Rajon Rondo. It hasn't been a perfect pairing, and the lack of backcourt size is glaring.
Jordan Crawford has flourished as the team's primary point guard this season, which has allowed Bradley to play primarily off the ball. He's scoring 13.7 points per game in his fourth season with the Celtics on an acceptable 45% from the field. A 38.8% from three gives his efficiency a boost, despite a lackluster 68.8% from the free-throw line.
Still, the best part of Bradley's game moving forward will most likely be his defense. He's proven to be a smothering defender that puts opposing guards under constant pressure, despite the fact that he's a little undersized as a shooting guard. He can usually cover both guard positions, but there's no use for him as a defender on small forwards, which is a serious limitation for a defensive specialist.
All of this adds up to a pretty nice player in the right situation. He's a little more than a "three and D" guy, but nothing special. Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report reported a little while ago that Bradley is looking for $8 million per year, which could lead to an awkward situation between Avery and the Celtics.
Tony Allen, who is universally considered one of the best perimeter defenders in the game, makes just $5 million per year for the Memphis Grizzlies. So, where exactly does $8 million make sense for Avery?
Bradley probably does have a little more upside than Allen, but what is that upside worth? Going a step further, why pay $8 million for Bradley when you could bring back Jordan Crawford at a much more reasonable price? With a little more size and a toughness that is unmatched, Allen provides extra value as someone who can guard point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards.
The Celtics do have a little over $17 million coming off the books between Kris Humphries and Keith Bogans. Danny Ainge will have some money to spend, but there are better uses of this cap space. They'd be smart to look at other options, such as trading for a bad contract with the requirement of also bringing back young players or draft picks. Remember, cap space has value outside of simply signing free agents.
It's hard to justify paying Avery Bradley $3 million per season more than Tony Allen. He's having a nice season, but he's simply not worth the price. The Celtics are in a good position moving forward, and making a bad move like this would compromise their future.
Bring back Jordan Crawford at a cheap price and use your draft picks wisely, Danny. No need to splurge on an undersized shooting guard who is only starting to resemble an average offensive player.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering New England sports for various blogs over the past 4 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings.