Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley has missed 10 of his last 11 games due to an ankle injury. The 23-year-old has yet to complete a full season in the NBA because of many injury issues. It is safe to say Bradley is injury-prone. Given his injury history, is it worth the risk to re-sign Avery Bradley after the season?
A restricted free agent at season’s end, Bradley already turned down an extension prior to the start of the season. Danny Ainge allegedly offered a multiyear deal worth $6 million per year. Bradley instead hopes to make at least $8 million in the offseason, a number the Celtics should stay away from.
We all know what Bradley can do at the defensive end, and his offensive skill-set has shown impressive improvement over the last year. In 2012-13, Bradley averaged 9.2 points and 2.2 rebounds while shooting 32 percent from three and 40 percent overall. This season, the guard has averaged 14.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and has shot 36 percent from deep and 43 percent overall. Bradley has become a more of an efficient offensive threat, consistently knocking down his jump shots.
However, Bradley is extremely limited running the offense and possesses weak point guard skills. His ball-handling skills are below-average for his size. At 6-foot-2, he is too small for the two but doesn’t have the skills to facilitate at the one. His size also restricts his defensive ability. Bradley is a terrific on-ball defender. He is aggressive and tenacious. Unfortunately, his lack of size disables his versatility on the defensive end. Bradley can only effectively guard point guards and smaller shooting guards.
A fair comparison to Bradley is Tony Allen. Like Bradley, Allen is limited offensively, but in different ways. Bradley has a sweet outside jumper while Allen has virtually no perimeter shooting touch. On the other hand, Allen can finish at the rim and is an overall better rebounder. Avery has trouble penetrating to the rim and doesn’t finish well in traffic. Both are terrific defenders who work relentlessly every minute on the court. However, Allen can guard three positions, while Bradley can barely guard two.
Tony Allen’s length enables him to guard bigger offensive players at the three, two and one. He has shown he can guard Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and more players of that caliber. Bradley cannot possibly guard those caliber players. Allen makes an annual salary of $5 million, and Bradley wants $8 million. Tony Allen is slightly worse offensively, but he is a much better defender. There is no way Bradley should make more than $6 million.
So, should the Celtics sign the young guard? Yes, if his market commands $6 million or less. In fact, because of his injury history, I’d be wary of giving him $6 million. But any more than $6 million, no thank you. Bradley is not a long-term option and just isn’t worth the money given his skill-set.