Avery Bradley is hurt again. This is a recording.
In the midst of a Celtics season short on certainty, one thing on which fans and casual observers alike can probably agree is indeed very certain is that Bradley, the team’s soon-to-be restricted free agent 2-guard, is legitimately injury-prone. And that, combined with a couple of other factors, amounts to why the Celts should let him walk this summer.
Bradley has been in the league four years now and the only one in which he even approached playing the full schedule was 2011-2012. It should be noted that was the lockout shortened season with only 66 games on the slate. Bradley still didn’t play in all of them.
First, it was his shoulders. Then it was his ankles. Now it’s his Achilles. Next, it will be something else. He missed 32 games last year as a result of the shoulder maladies that struck in the Celtics' 2012 playoff run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, a postseason he could not finish. This year, he’s already missed 19 games thanks to the ankle issues, with his status for tonight's game and the remainder of the season in doubt after he aggravated his Achilles and missed the second half of Monday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls.
That Bradley’s ongoing health woes have cropped up yet again may seem like no big deal given that there are only eight games remaining on the Celts’ schedule and they aren’t going to the playoffs anyway. But when you are about to hit free agency and you can’t stay on the floor, your value, both to your current team and any other potential suitors, takes a hit.
Bradley is a solid, useful player who has improved greatly since the Celts took him with the 19th overall pick in the 2010 draft. He’s turned himself into a good outside shooter and has the ability to be a tenacious perimeter defender. But his limits are tough to ignore, starting with the fact that he’s barely 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, and can’t handle the ball. Every attempt the Celtics have made to play him at the point has ended quickly and badly. And given that most 2-guards are much bigger and more physical than he is, ultimately his tenacity on defense will give way to him being pushed around, especially if he’s taken into the post.
Again, Bradley is a nice player with some very important skills who could help a contender as a third guard. But to depend on him to be a part of your starting backcourt into the future, especially for relatively significant dollars, feels like a very risky proposition.