By Jon Shames on April 19, 2014
This has been an important year for Avery Bradley. Entering restricted free agency this summer, the fourth-year shooting guard did not disappoint in his contract year. That contract may end up not being with the Celtics, but one thing is clear: injuries aside, Bradley is a fairly productive player who still hasn't reached his offensive ceiling. With all that said, here is a breakdown of his 2013-14 campaign.
Bradley's biggest leap this year has unquestionably come in the scoring department. Known solely for his perimeter defense before this season, Bradley has become a decent scorer and a lethal shooter from deep. His 39.5 percent conversion rate from behind the arc is a career-high, as well as his 14.9 PPG average. In five April games, Bradley averaged 22.4 points while shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from three.
Luckily for him, Bradley is blessed with a fantastic set of physical tools: he is an explosive leaper, has a strong frame, and (to a lesser extent) has strong hands. Because of this, he can hold his own when it comes to rebounding despite being undersized for an off guard at just 6-foot-2. Bradley, listed as a point guard, is ranked 13th in rebounding rate for his position, and sports an average of 3.8 boards per game.
At this point, can we all just accept Bradley's utter dearth of passing skills for what it is? The 23-year-old has now finished his fourth season in the NBA, and when it comes to passing, he hasn't shown any improvement over that timespan. On the season, Bradley has tallied 86 assists and 95 turnovers, numbers far from ideal (to put it nicely) for a guard.
What can be said about Avery Bradley's defense? It's nothing short of fantastic. He is your standard ball hawk; he has quick hands and feet, as well as top-notch instincts. Bradley hasn't been hounding opposing guards with his usual full-court pressure, but still has been plenty effective in preventing easy buckets. Although he likely won't be listed as an All-NBA defender like he was last season, he has been stellar once again.
Sure, he missed 22 games this season, but Bradley has made significant progress in almost every facet of the game. Its tough to foresee his future with the Cs as Danny Ainge and co. likely won't be thrilled to shell out long-term salary for a player who hasn't shown the ability to stay healthy. While he may not be perfect, he is a deserving starter for this club who is only going to get better from this point forward.
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