Change can be a very disruptive, uncomfortable thing. Often, though, it’s for the better.
The notion that this could be a legitimate argument would have seemed insane even a month ago, but facts are facts. For the year, the Celtics are 10-1 without Allen. Though they are certainly not winning despite him (all 29 other NBA teams would love to have Allen’s .463/.459/.921 shooting percentages), the team has proved that it can indeed thrive without him.
It is not an argument against Allen so much as it is one for Bradley. Rarely used as a rookie out of Texas last season, Bradley has emerged as a defensive force in 2011-12. This elite skill has now been coupled with a spike in his offensive production, and fans are beginning to see why General Manager Danny Ainge used the 19th pick in the 2010 draft to select him.
Bradley’s offense must continue to develop, and it would be foolish to suggest he’d be able to match Allen’s production on that end of the floor. However, Bradley is coming along quicker than fans might think; he is shooting at a .481 clip for the season and over his last five games is averaging 14.6 points per game, the same exact total as Allen.
While Allen will certainly see a lot of game action when he returns, it should come with the second unit. The starting group as a whole has dominated with Bradley in the lineup, and there is no reason to break it up now.
Here are the five main reasons why Bradley needs to remain a starter: