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With his unparalelled one-on-one defense, Avery Bradley has a skill that would be valuable to any team.
Please excuse head coach Brad Stevens. He’s new here. Scouting players on video is one thing, but Stevens will learn what his players can do best by watching them in person.
Days before opening training camp, Stevens said he will try Avery Bradley at point guard. “I don’t think there is any doubt that Avery has elite ability in a lot of ways as a point guard. He’s an elite defender at the position. He’s an elite athlete at the point guard position. I think he’s a guy that’s gotten better. I think he’s a guy with more confidence, and I think he’s excited about the challenge if Rajon is out.”
But having a few skills that can be applied to the position doesn’t make Bradley a point guard.
Bradley had his chance. With Rajon Rondo done for the season after partially tearing his ACL, the starting point guard duties were handed to the third-year man out of Texas.
But after winning the first seven games sans Rondo and 14-4 after 18 games, opponents adjusted and Bradley was exposed as an out of position two guard. Boston closed the season 7-13 and lost the first round playoff series to the New York Knicks in six games. Former head coach Doc Rivers had to take the ball out of Bradley’s hands on offense against the Knicks.
Bradley is an undersized (6’2”) shooting guard who can’t shoot. He’s a liability on offense as opponents can cheat off Bradley to double-team the ball. If Bradley could shoot threes at a respectable level, at least he would make opponents pay for ignoring him.
But damn, can the boy defend! There isn’t another player in the league who can man up opposing point guards for 94 feet like Bradley can. His man-to-man D drains the shot clock and disrupts offenses, which would be very valuable in the playoffs.
And though not a top offensive threat, the 2011-12 season played alongside Rajon Rondo proved Bradley can be very efficient as a complimentary player, as he shot .498 from the field and .407 behind the arc.
Bradley probably dashed any hopes of becoming a starter, whether in Boston or elsewhere. But defenders like him are rare. What team wouldn’t love to have a ferocious defender like Bradley coming off the bench with the craftiness to sneak around and get open looks on offense? A playoff team looking for an additional edge should be very interested.
Trade Appeal: * * * *
Trade Desire: * * *