Celtics Player Preview: Avery Bradley
|09.16.16 at 10:08 am ET|
With Celtics training camp set to begin on Sept. 26, WEEI.com presents a player-by-player breakdown of the roster. The Celtics have 20 players under contract but will have to cut the roster to 15 by the start of the season.
76 games: 33.4 minutes, 15.2 points, 44.7% FG, 2.1 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 1.5 steals
The 25-year-old was one of the most indispensable members of the team last season — as apparent by the noticeable void when the seventh-year pro went down with a hamstring injury in the first game of the postseason. Prior to that, however, the now-longest-tenured Celtic’s defense was stout as ever, leading to a spot on the NBA’s All-Defense first team, while still being a reliable shooting source from the wing.
Projected role in 2016-17
Don’t expect Bradley’s role to change much this season. Of the 76 regular-season games he appeared in last season, he started 72 and was one of the most reliable defenders and shooters, and he should do much of the same this season. The Celtics don’t have much shooting help from 3, and Bradley likely will continue to fill the 3-and-D role for coach Brad Stevens as a result. It’s also safe to expect him to be one of the premier defensive forces in the NBA, and as long as he is at full health — which he says he is — then expect him to be a night-in, night-out starter netting 35-plus minutes per game.
It’s worth noting that his biggest strength on most other teams would be defense, but given the lack of shooting on the Celtics, Bradley’s ability to hit from deep reliably makes it one of his biggest assets, especially on a defense-centric team. Last season he set a career high in 3-point attempts with 407, surpassing his previous high of 352. On top of that, he was shooting from deep with 36.1 percent accuracy. The defense will continue to be there, but offensively if he continues to shoot with the same accuracy and frequency as last year, he’ll solidify his role as the team’s shooter — especially in late situations — following the departure of Evan Turner.
In his six NBA seasons Bradley has yet to play a full 82 games and often has been riddled with injuries at one point or another. In 2014-15 he played the highest total of his career with 77 games, a total he came one shy of last season. His injury problems struck at the worst possible time last season, resulting in him missing nearly all of the Celtics’ lone postseason series against the Hawks. With all the promise surrounding the team this season, it is pivotal that Bradley keeps himself healthy.
Likelihood of making final 15
No scenario aside from injury would result in Bradley not being on the team and starting when the season tips off on Oct. 26.
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