Should the Boston Celtics Trade Avery Bradley?

By Michael LeDuc
Avery Bradley
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley is set to be free agent at season’s end. Would it be wise to trade him before the trade deadline in February?

The No. 19 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft has quickly become a fan favorite in Boston. His on-ball pressure has become tenacious, and his hard-work and hustle are easily appreciated by fans and teammates. However, the Celtics and Bradley could not agree to terms on an extension before the season started. Bradley has asked for a contract worth up to $8 million a year. That contract seems a little much for undersized shooting guard with limited point guard skills. If his asking price is too high, would it be a good idea for Danny Ainge to explore some trades in order to get value in return?

Why Bradley Should be Traded:

Again, his asking price is a little much for my taste. Bradley is only 6-foot-2 and has little to no point guard skills. His ball-handling is atrocious and his play-making ability is nearly nonexistent. Another negative aspect is his durability. Bradley is injury-prone and hasn’t played over 64 games in his three and a half years in the league. He’s had shoulder problems throughout his career and is currently dealing with an ankle injury.

Despite being a good defender, Bradley can only guard a handful of players at his position. Because of his size, his defense is only effective when guarding point guards and small two-guards. A decent comparison to Bradley would be Tony Allen. Although Bradley has the offensive advantage, Allen, who only makes $5 million a year, can guard ones, twos and threes. He is a much more versatile defender than Bradley. However, they each bring the same defensive intensity night in and night out.

Bradley often times loses control and has trouble changing speed when penetrating to the rim. He has the athleticism and quickness to get there but is susceptible to getting blocked, being stripped and missing easy layups when a big man is near.

Nonetheless, he could still bring back value from another team. He has many limitations, but he offers a lot to the table with his defense and emerging offensive skills. Plus, he is a restricted free agent after the season, so whichever team would get him has some control over him.

Why Bradley Shouldn’t Be Traded:

The 23-year-old still has so much potential. Bradley shows significant improvement every season. In the last four years, his points per game have gone from 1.7 to 7.6 to 9.2 to 14.5 this season. His shot, which used to be a weakness, has become a strength. Bradley is highly confident when taking the corner three-pointer and has added a nice mid-range, pull-up jumper to his arsenal.

Not only is he improving his shooting ability, but his rebounding is better as well. The last few years, Bradley was the weakest rebounder on the team. Now, he is one of the best in terms of rebounds per minute. He is averaging a respectable 4.1 rebounds per game. Compared to his 1.6 last year, that is a huge jump. Bradley is improving all facets of his game.

Bradley’s defensive pressure can often change the pace of the opponent’s offensive game. He has the lateral speed to keep up with any ball-handler and makes big defensive plays. He tires out his opponent, steals the ball in the backcourt and has the leaping ability to block shots. We’ve seen what he can do against players such as Dwyane Wade, Kyrie Irving and John Wall.

Avery Bradley’s upside may be too promising to part ways with. He is becoming a well-rounded player who can both shoot and play hard-nosed defense. The sky is the limit for young Celtic. Unless the Celtics are offered something they can’t refuse it’ll probably be worth keeping Bradley around for the long-haul. His market is another factor that will be telling whether he is worth keeping. The Celtics will have the right to match any offer, but will they wait for their decision to come down to that?

Michael LeDuc is a Boston Celtics writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @mike_leduc, and add him on Google.

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