If you’re a fan of the Boston Celtics, I can’t fathom how you’d view the free agency news that came down the pipeline this morning. According to Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe, Avery Bradley has agreed to a deal with the Celtics that will pay him $32 million over four years. The actual signing of Bradley is a good thing — I’m just not sold on the annual amount he’ll be receiving.
Even if the Celtics decide to move Rajon Rondo, this deal still makes me nervous. Yes, Bradley is only 23 years old and has a while to develop. With that said, offensively, he hasn’t shown the ability to play the point effectively. At best, he’s a 3-and-D guy who’s undersized (6-foot-2) to be playing that role. Typically, you’d want those guys to be able to defend at least three positions — and there’s no way Bradley is going to effectively guard the taller small forwards in today’s NBA.
In 2013-14 for the Celtics, Bradley averaged 14.9 points per game to go along with his 3.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 30.9 minutes per game. Of the 60 games he appeared in, he started 58 of them. With Marcus Smart now in the fold, Celtics coach Brad Stevens could go with the tandem of Rondo/Bradley with Smart coming off the bench. While a defensive combination of any of those three is enticing, there’s a lot to be desired offensively.
Not all is lost, though — Bradley is trending in the right direction, especially with his shooting. After a breakout season in 2011-12, where he shot 49.8 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from the 3-point line, he fell off badly in 2012-13, with averages of 40.2 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from the 3-point line. A lot of that could be due to injury and his returning to form, because in 2013-14, he looked more like himself again, shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from the 3-point line.
Defensively, he’s not the stalwart he was back in 2011-12. He allowed opposing point guards to put up an efficiency rating of just 12.7, with shooting guards achieving a measly 7.6 PER. Last season, that was a much-worse 15.2 allowed to point guards and 17.2 to shooting guards. If he’s going to be out there with Rondo and/or Smart, he’s going to need to defend his position better — especially considering he’s getting $8 million a year to do just that.
Contracts cannot be made official until July 10.