As we transition from the regular season to our draft coverage, we will first take a look back at 2013-14, grading each player’s performance. These grades are a compilation of four writers: Brian Robb, Michael Pina, Adam Lowenstein and Tom Westerholm.
Bradley had a lot of excellent games, and boiling his memorable moment down to one highlight may undercut his impact this season. That being said, this was pretty awesome.
I wrote about this yesterday so I won’t harp on it too much. Bradley is a restricted free agent, but given his injury history, I have a hard time imagining any team offering him enough money to coax him away from the Celtics. Meanwhile, Boston — perhaps more than any other team — knows what a healthy Bradley brings to the table on both ends of the floor.
One other thing to consider: Bradley could simply take the qualifying offer and try his luck in unrestricted free agency next season, but that would be a massive risk for a young player who has struggled immensely to stay healthy. Guaranteed money is going to be important for him.
The phrase “3-and-D guy” has been thrown around the NBA quite a bit in recent years, and Bradley is ideal in this role. He shot 39.5 percent from 3-point range this year — an excellent percentage — and interestingly, 47.5 percent from above the break. Corner 3-pointers are the shot many offenses are built around, but Bradley has shown the ability to hit other treys as well, which is a good sign.
If the playoffs have shown us anything this year, it’s that two-point jumpers can be used effectively if they can help open up your offense, and Bradley shot a surprisingly good percentage on long twos — 43.9 from 16-23 feet. Essentially, he’s very good at a not-very-efficient shot.
You know this by now, of course, but Bradley is also a top-notch defender. His on-ball pressure wasn’t quite as enthusiastic, but he also averaged the lowest number of fouls per 36 minutes (2.8) of his career. Having a pit bull mentality on defense doesn’t help much if you can’t stay on the court, and Bradley is an excellent defender even when he isn’t playing as physically as he did in 2012.
Finally, it’s very much worth noting that Bradley’s turnover percentage was the lowest of his career at 9.9 percent. This is more a result of Stevens taking him almost entirely off the ball than anything else, but it’s a massive improvement over what we saw in last year’s playoffs when Bradley literally couldn’t dribble the ball up the floor without giving us all ulcers.
You probably know all of this already, but we’ll go through it again. Bradley seems to be injury prone. He’s not a good ball-handler. He often settles for inefficient one-dribble pull-ups. He’s undersized as a two-guard and severely out of position at point.
One less-discussed problem: Bradley was terrible from mid-range. He somehow managed to shoot 28 percent from 3-10 feet and 32 percent from 10-15. The sample size is small (shots from those distances made up just 14 percent of his total), which means Bradley mostly stuck to his strengths this year, but those are surprisingly bad numbers given that he shot so well from 16-23 feet.
On the court, we know what Bradley is and isn’t. As a result, we know roughly what Boston would pay for him if he didn’t have lingering injury concerns, but he has LOTS of lingering injury concerns. The best case scenario, obviously, would be if Bradley signed for cheap, stayed healthy and outperformed his contract. The second best scenario? Literally anything that involves Bradley staying healthy. For his sake, I’m just tired of seeing him get hurt.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.