We all knew Avery Bradley was valuable. But were we really sure he was this valuable? Since Avery Bradley has come back, the Celtics are 6-2 and playing their best basketball of the season. It’s no coincidence that Bradley’s return has influenced this team on the defensive end as his skills are superior to anyone else on the team. The fact is that Bradley should get considered for NBA All-Defensive Team this season. If Rajon Rondo can make the All-Defensive team two years in a row, then there is no reason Bradley shouldn't receive the honor.
Since his return, he has played suffocating defense on some decent point guards. Including the Grizzlies Mike Conley, who admitted that once Bradley went to the bench, he breathed a sigh of relief.
In a win last week against Houston, Bradley played suffocating defense on one of the league's best players, James Harden.
In Monday’s win against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats, Bradley continuously was up in point guard Ramon Sessions grill. Time after time, because of Bradley’s defense, the Bobcats weren’t able to get into their offense until there were 15 or fewer seconds left on the shot clock. Most offenses thrive on getting into their sets early, but when Bradley is guarding the point, it’s extremely hard to get a flow to your game.
Lately, Bradley has added another arsenal to his game, the three point shot. He has found a home in the corner and has connected on a number of big shots from beyond the arc, including 4-of-7 on Monday night. Who knew when the season started that one of the Celtics’ more consistent threats from deep would be Bradley, not the slumping Jason Terry. Terry’s scoring average has been cut in half from 10.3 Points Per Game (PPG) on the season to just 5.1 PPG for the month of January as his field goal percentage has dropped from .423 to .349 to start the new year.
Lately, Bradley has heard his name in trade rumors. It would be hard to imagine Danny Ainge dealing an important defensive piece like Bradley. Especially since he sees how much of a mistake losing defensive minded players like Tony Allen and Kendrick Perkins was and how hard it is to rebuild after a trade.
A swap of Bradley for DeMarcus Cousins is a debate for another day. The truth is that if Bradley continues to give the Celtics valuable contributions consistently on both ends of the floor, the C’s will be quickly working their way up the Eastern Conference ladder.