When news broke that Avery Bradley was close to Re-signing with the Boston Celtics, my initial reaction was "He's probably going to get about a two year, $10-12 million dollar contract". Boy was I wrong. He inked a 4 year, $32 million dollar deal. My reaction after that was nothing short of priceless. But the more I thought about it, the more it actually made some sense and my future father in-law was ecstatic. And for good reason. Here's why:
- For starters, it's not like it's a long term deal. 4 years in any sport goes by fairly quickly. He's already one of the more tenured Celtics on the roster and is gaining valuable leadership qualities year by year.
- He's 23 years old, not even remotely close to his prime year's. By the time his contract run's out, he will be 27 year's old so by that point, the Celtics will have a far better idea as to what kind of player he will be in year 4.
- He's an absolute ELITE defender. He may be the best defender of the point guard and shooting guard in the league. To be completely honest, for those that don't see him play as regular as we have here in New England, he really is an elite on ball and team defender. It's almost impossible to get the ball up to half court cleanly when he is pressing the ball. It's almost impossible to drive by him because he has such quick hands and feet. You can't set a pick on him because he will still get over the top of the pick and still be on the ball. His defense is by far his best trait and is well worth the money he will receive annually.
- His offense is consistently improving. Last year he averaged nearly 15 point's per game, while improving his 3 point shot, which rose to nearly 40 percent on the year. If he starts consistently knocking down 15 foot jumper's and banging down the corner 3, his value as a combo guard will go through the roof.
- While undersized at 6'3", he's still capable of playing defense against player's that are nearly 5 to 6 inches taller and able to create his own shot against taller defenders.
- His only issue since entering the league has been his health. He's battled ankle and shoulder injuries pretty much since becoming a professional. The worst being the two major shoulder surgeries. If he is able to maintain a mostly healthy length of his current contract, it could be a pretty big steal for them.
To put it in perspective, Lance Stephenson just inked a 3 year, $27 million dollar deal with the Hornets. And while his all around play is very good, his defense isn't nearly as polished as Bradley's is. Bradley's jumper has consistently improved, maybe even more so then Stephenson. Avery isn't nearly the headache that Stephenson is at this point in their young careers. Considering the market for premium guard's in the league, this is a very good deal for Boston and it doesn't keep them handcuffed for a ton of years and money. Regardless of what happens in a rebuild year or a year where they get a few superstars, Bradley has made a name for himself defensively and offensively and should be a key component to hopefully future success in Boston for year's to come.