One player that particularly stood out in the Boston Celtics‘ victory over the Miami Heat was guard Avery Bradley. Bradley scored 23 points by shooting 8-of-13 from the field, including a career-high six 3-pointers. The 23-year-old also dazzled on the defensive end by holding his own against Dwyane Wade and the rest of Miami’s backcourt. Bradley, set to be a restricted free agent at season’s end, made a strong case to earn a lucrative deal.
One of the knocks on Bradley’s game is his offensive production. As we know, he has improved his offensive numbers across the board in 2013-14. He is shooting a respectable 37 percent while averaging 14.3 points and 3.8 rebounds. More importantly, he and Rajon Rondo seem to have found a groove playing with each other.
If the Celtics choose to keep Rondo in their plans, they should consider keeping Bradley around as well. The Rondo-Bradley combo is deadly tandem on both sides of the floor. Defensively, they apply a lot of pressure and Rondo makes Bradley much better offensively.
However, Bradley is undersized, injury-prone, lacks versatility on defense and is not the most potent offensive threat. Boston should not give him over $6 million in a deal. I also don’t think he is a long-term option. If the Celtics strip down their roster even further this offseason and trade Rondo, then Bradley should not be given a contract. But if the Celtics do use their many assets to acquire a star player like Kevin Love, then Bradley would be a perfect fit.
Bradley just might be one of those players who is most effective when taking on a secondary role. If the Celtics remain in rebuild mode next season, then Bradley is not part of the solution.