BY THE NUMBERS (IN MEMPHIS):
14 games played (14 started), 31.6 minutes per game, 16.1 points per game, 46.3% field goal shooting, 38.4% three point shooting, 13.4 shots per game, 14.5 PER, 109.4(!) offensive rating, 110.4 defensive rating.
SEASON IN REVIEW:
It was essentially a complete roster overhaul for the Memphis Grizzlies at this year’s trade deadline. New players came in and former players went out as the team was left with a whole batch of unfamiliar faces. One of those new faces was veteran shooting guard Avery Bradley, who came over from the Los Angeles Clippers.
Bradley was an interesting addition to a team that did not have a direction at the time. He had been coming off his two worst seasons of his career and was not the young, upside player that some people wanted at the trade deadline.
During his stints with the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Clippers, he was a shell of his former self that he was with the Boston Celtics. His defensive slumped and his offense was not conducive for the style of those two teams. So, when he made his way to Memphis, it was a virtual unknown of which version of Avery Bradley the Grizzlies would be getting. Now, after 14 games in Beale Street Blue, Avery Bradley is showing Memphis is just the new start he needed.
In only his second game with the Grizzlies, Bradley scored a career-high 33 points against the San Antonio Spurs. He looked like a whole new player who went through a offensive renaissance by putting on a new jersey. Bradley looked in control of his game and was not forced in to offensive sets and actions which did not fit his game. Bradley played his game and had 12 of his 15 baskets from two-point range.
Bradley got into his rhythm of choosing a pull-up jump over a three-point shot which the analytics disagree with. This doesn’t matter for him though. On a recent episode of GBBLive, he told host Joe Mullinax that a pull-up jumper feels the same as a layup for him. The eye test should be the only factor in deciding if Avery Bradley is impacting a game or not, throw the analytics out the window with him.
The rest of his short season with the Grizzlies was much of the same as this career night for him. He continued this trend being an important offensive source for the team, mainly from mid-range. All these newly acquired pieces gelled well together playing with an edge factor that came from recently being dealt. With Bradley specifically, he was finally free from offensive systems that did not work for his game. Avery Bradley showed a glimpse that he could rewind the clock back before the debacles in Detroit and L.A.
WHAT IS NEXT:
What comes next for Avery Bradley will be mostly out of his control. This off-season, the Grizzlies have a choice of to make on Bradley. His second (and final) year of his deal is only partially guaranteed. If the Grizzlies waive him by July 3rd, then they are only on the hook to pay him $2 million guaranteed. If they choose to keep him, he will be owed all of the almost $13 million for the 2019-2020 year.
With the current state of the front office, who knows what those guys are thinking when it comes to Bradley. I am not sure what other free agents would be out there to spend the extra $11 million, on, or if they’ll even have that amount due to the other deals on the books already, so it would not be a colossal mistake to give him the money. He is a veteran presence in a locker room who will be building around the young piece of Jaren Jackson Jr.
Plus, if you can get the offensive production we saw in those 14 games from him, he would be worth every penny. It will be very important that the future coach lets him stay within his game and not try to create an offense outside of that.
One aspect of his game that has not been mentioned is his defense. Without writing another 1,000 words, his defense is what has really dropped off more than anything else. He was 2x All-Defense back with the Celtics, and now some teams are isolating him out on an island. It is where the off-season training needs to be focused on.
Avery Bradley showed his future potential with the Memphis Grizzlies. He needs to work on his defense and continue playing his individual offensive game, and then hopefully the Grizzlies will give him the money to come back and help this team start their rebuild.
Stats provided by basketball-reference.com