Arguably the best and most consistent Celtics player this season has hit turbulence. Bothered by a sore right Achilles’ tendon, Avery Bradley was forced to miss last night’s game in Washington and may miss tomorrow’s game against Philadelphia. He was also pulled after 14 minutes in Monday’s loss to Chicago.
After starting the first 43 games of the season, Celtics fans were relieved to see that Bradley’s worrisome injuries were a thing of the past. Wrong-o. Since late January, Bradley has missed 19 games. Injuries have been a problem for Bradley his entire career, as he has only played in 60+ games once. Last year it was 32 games because of a shoulder injury, the year before was ankle issues, and this year it’s Achilles’ woes.
Entering his final year of his rookie contract, Bradley is set to become a restricted free agent. Despite the fact that he has had a career season, averaging highs in points (14.2), rebounds (3.7), and minutes (30.1) per game, his spot on next year’s roster is uncertain. Boston.com released an article today explaining why it’s obvious that Bradley shouldn’t be brought back next year. But I disagree. With the right contract and role on the team, Bradley could remain healthy in fewer minutes played. If the Celtics draft a player like Marcus Smart, the two could split playing time; thus allowing Smart to mature and grow as well as allowing Bradley to rest some nights. That’s hypothetical naturally, but I think Bradley is a big piece in Boston’s rebuild (under the right contract of course).
If a crazy team is willing to sign Bradley to big-time starter’s money, then I say let him go. But letting him walk for bench money would be a huge mistake, injuries aside. Keep an eye on Bradley to see if/how he plays the rest of the year and comment below with what you think the Celtics should do with him!