Re: What to do with Avery Bradley
posted at 8/17/2013 8:56 PM EDT
Boston Celtics Summer Camp Part 11: Avery Bradley
August 10th, 2013 at 2:29 PM
By Sean Melia
Avery Bradley, a player that Boston Celtics fans have talked themselves into for the past two seasons, is finally healthy and ready for a full season of basketball. Bradley has never played a full season, last year he returned for the last 50 games. His strength is on the defensive end of the court. Per Synergy Sports, he ranked 16th in points per possession last season. He's a lockdown defender, who harasses his opponent on the entire court.
Bradley will have a much larger load to carry this season. With Rajon Rondopossibly missing some time at the start of the year due to his knee injury, Bradley could play a lot of point guard. His ball handling skills leave something to be desired, along with his ability to spread the floor as a shooter when charged with the job of playing shooting guard.
Bradley only shot 32% on three pointers last year, way down from 40% in his 2011-12 season. A look at his shot chart will give an idea of how poor a shooter Bradley is. The red sections represent areas where Bradley shot under the league average. This is not a good thing, there's a lot of red on here. Even at the rim, where Bradley took 2.7 shots per game, he struggled (hoopdata.com).
Bradley is at his most dangerous when he is able to cut to the basket, he's quick, and when paired with Rondo (which has been very rare after their injuries) they are very effective. However, when you consider Rondo's difficulty shooting along with Bradley's it becomes clear that Bradley has to be better from the perimeter.
Bradley defenders will claim that he was not 100% last year, a fair argument. He had surgery on both shoulders, clearly that will effect his shooting. His numbers in 2011-12 were better, and hopefully Bradley can use this summer to get healthy and find his jump shot again.
During the Knicks playoffs series last May Bradley allowed Ray Felton to dominate the flow of the entire series. In the last few games, especially game six (during the huge near comeback), he realized could rattle Felton.
Bradley might have been tired and worn out, but he'll need to be an elite defender and a serviceable shooter to guarantee his playing time this year.Courtney Lee is a solid defender too, and a a much better shooter. That could be a big competition within the team once Rondo is healthy.
Here's hoping Bradley's shoulders are ready to carry a bigger load. 9.2 points per game will not cut it, he'll have to get it up 12 points. He's always going to score 4-6 points off of turnovers. A few threes a game mixed in, or a couple easy lay-ups off Rondo passes will make him a more dangerous scorer. The Celtics will need it they want to avoid a disappointing season.