The Boston Celtics have finally clinched a berth in the NBA Playoffs and probably the seven-seed in the Eastern Conference. This has been no thanks to how they’ve played over the last several weeks, winning only three of their last 10 games. They have been riddled with injuries over this span, but Avery Bradley’s performance on offense has also been problematic for the Celtics.
When Rajon Rondo went down with his torn ACL, an injury that effectively ended his season, Bradley was inserted into the role as the Celtics’ primary ball-handler. Though Bradley had led the Celtics’ offense for stretches before, he had mainly garnered a reputation as a defensive stopper more than an effective point guard.
Bradley got off to a mediocre start at being the starting point guard for the Celtics, but, as just a second-year player, many people just chalked that up to inexperience. The general assumption was that he would get more comfortable in this new role and his performance would then improve. The problem is that hasn’t yet happened.
Over the last 10 games, Bradley has been awful on the offensive end of the floor. In 30.7 minutes per game he has averaged just 7.8 points, 2.2 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game, and has turned the ball over an average of 1.9 times per game. As if that weren’t bad enough, Bradley has been shooting just 35.5 percent from the floor and 21.7 percent from three. That’s not the kind of production that a starting point guard should be contributing.
Bradley is going to have to mature and do it quickly if the Celtics want to have success in the postseason. They may be just the seven-seed in the East, but there is no doubt that the Celtics have aspirations that go beyond the first round of the playoffs. They probably aren’t going to make it past that opening round, though, if Bradley doesn’t start performing more capably on offense.