By Tyler Sullivan. Follow on Twitter @TylerSully
At the start of last season there was little doubt that Avery Bradley was the Celtics starting two guard.
He signed a 4 year, 32 million dollar deal with the team that summer and the defensive studs’ future looked pretty set, even with the C’s drafting guard Marcus Smart with the 6th overall pick.
But since the Isaiah Thomas trade in the middle of last season followed by the drafting of yet another guard in Terry Rozier, there was some head scratching as to who was in and who was out in the Celtics backcourt rotation.
Is Bradley part of the Rajon Rondo filled past or the Brad Stevens present and future?
It seems like the latter. In fact, this could be Bradley’s best year as a pro.
It has been a point of emphasis this offseason for Avery Bradley to stop pulling up from 16 feet out (just inside the three point line) and taking the long mid-range jumper.
When pulling up from that range, the 24-year old made 38.9% of his shots.
The Celtics want Bradley to step back and start taking more shots from beyond the arc. In Europe we saw that.
The 6’2″ guard from Texas nailed 7 out of 8 three-pointers. Now AB is going up against sub-NBA standard players here, but it’s still encouraging just in his approach to the game.
In each of his first five seasons, Bradley increased his three-point attempts from 0.2, 0.8, 2.5, 3.3 and 4.6 per game.
In his 2014-15 campaign, he chucked up 352 three-balls and sunk 35.2%. He ended last year averaging 13.9 points per game.
Even with the stellar defense, fourteen points a game won’t cut it long term for the Celtics from that position.
Bradley made and average of 1.6 three-pointers last year. If we say he makes about a 50% jump this season we can look at the 21 games from last year where he made at least 3 three-pointers as a possible window of the type of season the C’s guard might have.
In 21 games where he made at least 3 three-pointers, Bradley completed 52.7% of his shots and averaged 19.8 points a game. The Celtics also went 10-11 in those games.
We shouldn’t expect Bradley to sink more than half of his three-pointers this year, but even if that drops 10%, he would have been in the top 10 of the league last year beating out the likes of Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal and Danny Green.
Bradley is already a force on the defensive end and if he can add the three-point shot as a legitimate threat, he could have his best season yet and help the Celtics jockey for playoff position.
Celtics fans always talk about the future draft picks, but the development of the players that are here, like Bradley, might be more exciting.