Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Midseason Report Card: Avery Bradley

Causeway Street's Joel, Dutra and Josue have turned in their mid-term report cards for the Celtics. Each player's assessment will be released throughout the week, until all-star break comes to an end

Photo: Getty Images


13.4ppg, 1.5apg, 2.7rpg

Joel's Grade: B-

Avery Bradley at times has shown flashes of greatness, including leading the team in scoring and hitting clutch shots to win basketball games. But other times he has shown when a shooter has an off night, their inability to affect the game in other ways. Bradley is a defensive guy who just so happened to learn how to shoot. These days he's cutting less to hoop and quickly developed the corner 3-ball instead. Whatever the case may be, A.B. could easily be the Celtics number one scorer if he wanted it. The good thing is he has stayed off the disabled list this season, but his scoring average is down a bit from a year ago. With all the changes in Brad Stevens' lineup, one thing has been consistent and it's Bradley at the 2.

A combination of getting to the hoop, midrange and perimeter shooting is what would make Bradley much more dangerous as a complete scorer in this league. But the Celtics as a whole sometimes fall into the 'jump shooting' easy/lazy offense especially when they have a lead. Of course a great playmaker is needed to run the floor and find the open man despite Bradley's ability to create his own shot now. But more ball movement would create more opportunities at the rim, thus his average and free-throw percentage would increase. In this recent 12-game stretch Bradley has shown when you can't buy a bucket, you keep shooting.

When it comes to defensive, no one can deny Bradley is one of the best on-ball defenders in the NBA. He's that good, especially since the C's haven't had anyone of that caliber in a few years. His rebounding has gotten better, especially on the offensive side, which has been one of team's strength this season. A.B.'s speed is an underrated part of his game on both ends of the court, but it has not gone unnoticed.

With Rondo and Jeff Green gone, Bradley has to carry more a scoring load, and that's not a bad thing. What he should do is take it to the rim more, and be the slasher of three-years ago, that's what made him a starter. Don't shoot less, just add more of the inside game that he's always had. If the Celtics are serious about making a playoff run, they're going to need every bit of offense they can get out of Bradley going forward.

Dutra's Grade: A-

Avery Bradley signed a huge deal over the summer, that most at the time criticized for being a reach and an overpayment by Danny Ainge. Avery Bradley’s play and consistency so far this season has quieted most critics who questioned the 4 year- 32 million dollar deal when it was inked. His stats have not been overwhelming, but let’s face it no one on the Celtics have eye popping averages.

Bradley has brought a level of calm and consistency throughout this point of the season. His provides a solid 2nd or 3rd option on the offensive end, and has not been shy about taking the big shot at the end of games. His defense has cooled off since his first two seasons where he was one of the best agitators in the league, but he is still a great on ball defender that fits perfectly in to Brad Stevens defensive schemes.

As you’ve seen in most of the grades so far, the added playing time and responsibility since the departure of Rondo and Green have benefitted Bradley’s game. He has shouldered a lot of the offensive work load as the starting 2-guard and has shown flashes of brilliance shooting the mid-range jumper and corner 3. According to’s player shot tracking stats, Bradley is shooting 40% from the corners and 43% from the elbows, both numbers well above the league average.

Along with Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley has been one of the main reasons why the Celtics are knocking on the door of the playoffs.

Josue's Grade: B+

Bradley has been the most consistent player for the Celtics this season. He's almost always going to hit double-digits in points every game and has had a handful of nights when he's scored 20+. Bradley even hit his career high this year when he scored 32 points at Dallas back in November.

Bradley's best part of his game is his defense, which at times is overlooked. But just because we haven't seen him make big plays against the NBA's superstars like his block against Dwyane Wade a few years back, doesn't mean he hasn't been playing great one-on-one defense at the 2-guard spot. Avery is still an elite defender in the backcourt and has drastically improved his three-point shooting since his first two seasons in the league.

He's shooting almost 50% from that corner 3 spot that he loves so much, and is shooting close to 40% on the floor. One thing that we haven't seen out of Bradley this season is his back door cuts to the hoop, that used to be his favorite way to score and would drive opponents crazy. However, getting those looks down low were much easier when you had one of the best passers in the league dishing out assists. It hasn't been easy for Bradley to get those easy layups ever since his buddy Rondo was traded away.

Did I expect Avery to score a little more this season? Yes, but he's not that far away from my expectations. I thought we'd see 14-15 every night from him but with all the trades that have happened throughout this up-and-down Celtics season, I think a 13.4ppg average will suffice at midseason for Bradley.


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