Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics guard, was taken with the 19th pick in the first round of the 2010 Draft. Bradley arrived in Boston coming off of an injury. Boston happened to be a place where minutes would need to be earned unfortunately for Bradley. Don’t forget that Rajon Rondo, Nate Robinson, Delonte West, Von Wafer and Marquis Daniels are all ahead of Bradley on the roster.
With Rondo down, Bradley will get some minutes to show us how he can play. So far this season Bradley has only played in nine games averaging 1.1 points per game. So you might ask me, why are you writing this article promoting Avery Bradley?
Well, don’t forget that in 2008, while a senior at Findlay Prep High School, Bradley was ranked No. 1 in the ESPNU top 100. Bradley led Findlay Prep to the National High School Basketball Championship game against Oak Hill, where they won 56-53. Bradley also played in the McDonalds All-American game and won the dunk contest. Then it was on to Texas where Bradley started all 34 games and averaged 11.6 points per game.
Are you still questioning why I have so much faith in the success of Avery Bradley? Don’t want to take my word for it? Here is what Bill Simmons, ESPN journalist and die-hard Celtics fan said on his live-draft blog:
“By the way, you know this draft sucks because I’m now irrationally excited that the Celtics (picking 19th) might get either Eric Bledsoe (my favorite remaining prospect) or Avery Bradley (ESPNU’s No. 1 college recruit just 12 months ago) as Rondo insurance. I thought we’d have dreck left in this spot. This almost makes up for blowing a double-digit lead in the second half of Game 7 of the 2010 Finals against the NBA team I hate the most."
Can Avery Bradley be a solid backup?
"Oh, wait, it doesn’t at all. Not even a little. [...] Come on Celtics…Avery Bradley…Avery Bradley…Avery Bradley. YES! Good value. And by the way, if you’re betting on a No. 1 overall high school prospect whose stock dropped a little after one college year, you want it to be for a reason like, ‘Yeah, he played at Texas for Rick Barnes, OF COURSE his stock dropped!'”
Defense is Bradley’s game. He plays some of the best on-ball defense among all rookies and steals the ball at a good rate (Bradley averaged 1.4 steals per game last season). Bradley could be valued just for his defensive play, but don’t think that he is not also a shooter.
Last season at Texas, Avery shot 38 percent from the three-point line. That’s not really good, but it also is not Rondo’s 31 percent. Avery can shoot midrange shots, as well as the decent three-point shooting.
If Bradley is in Boston for the long haul, could he become similar to what Eric Maynor is to Russell Westbrook?
I think he could. Maynor was called “the best backup in the league” by a couple of summer league announcers. That may or may not be true, but the truth is, Maynor gets it done for the Thunder. When Westbrook is not having a good night or just needs a break, Scott Brooks can count on Maynor to produce for him. Maynor averages 4.8 points and 2.1 assists per game. Not big numbers, but like I said he gets it done.
If you didn’t have good thoughts about Bradley or questioned his potential, hopefully you now see that he could be a productive player for Doc Rivers and the Celtics. It might not be this year or maybe not even the next year, but if the Celtics keep developing Bradley, he WILL be a good backup to Rondo.
And when Rondo gets back, (which could be on Friday against the Hornets, according to Boston Globe writer Gary Washburn) we could see Bradley head to the D-League and play with the Maine Red Claws. This can only help young players looking improve their game.
If Bradley does go to the D-League, look to see him produce very impressive numbers.