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Avery Bradley was already having a not-so-specatular season with the Detroit Pistons. His numbers had dropped from where they were the year before, when he was a member of the Boston Celtics and averaged career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, and shooting percentage.

He was being criticized for something that he's been praised for his entire life: his defensive abilities. Although he locked down opponents' best guards night in and night out, and was still hands-down one of the league's best on-ball defenders, the team's defensive numbers took a hit whenever he was on the floor.


Then, he was traded for the second time on the season, having been a piece in the massive Blake Griffin trade that sent Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, and a first round pick to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Again, Avery's numbers took a hit with his new team and different system.

Year
Team
GP
Min
Pts
FG%
3pt%
Reb
Ast
Stl
Blk
2017
6
27.5
9.2
47.3
11.1
3.7
1.8
0.8
0.2
2017
40
31.7
15.0
40.9
38.1
2.4
2.1
1.1
0.2
2016
55
33.4
16.3
46.3
39.0
6.1
2.2
1.2
0.2

Then just last week, his season ended for good because of an ab injury.
In his eight years in the NBA, Avery have never played a full season, and he's played over 70 games just twice. In his entire career, he's suited up for 459 games, which is only 70% the games that he could have played in.

Bradley will become an unrestricted free-agenct this offseason, and his on-court struggles have surely affected his market value.

After last season, Avery was pinned to get big money as one of the league's top shooting guards. He was hitting shots more efficiently than he ever had before, hit some clutch buckets (cue ECF game 3),  only trailed Al Horford as the team's rebounding leader, and continued to smother super-star talent on the perimeter. He was truly excelling on both ends of the floor for the first time in his career and was set to get himself some dough.

But because of his most recent performance, his paycheck will be a bit smaller than what it could have been. So, what should we expect for Avery this offseason?

I think he'll get some Darren Collison-type money. Collison was a free-agent last season, and in 2016-2017 he averaged 13.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game. Collison had debatably better numbers as the Sacramento King's starting point guard than Avery did this season, but isn't nearly as defensively profound as Bradley is.

Collison eventually signed with the Indiana Pacers for a two-year, 20 million dollar contract. I think Avery will get something in the 10-15 million dollar range per season for three or four years. He's three years younger than Collison, and his defensive ability makes him incredibly valuable to any team that intends to contend.

That amount of money is nothing to sneeze at, but had Avery put up similar numbers this season to what he did in 2016-2017, he would likely be seeing something in the 19-20 million dollar per year range.

George Hill was signed by the Kings last season for 3 years and 57 million dollars. In his contract year, he dropped 16.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists for the Utah Jazz. Jeff Teague got the same deal, and put up 15.3 points, 4 rebounds, and 7.8 assists in his contract year with the Indiana Pacers. (Avery is being compared to point guards here because there weren't many free-agent shooting guards that compared to him statistically last season.)

Whatever amount of money Avery signs for in the offseason, it's certain that he'll make an impact for whichever team he gets on board with. Chances are that it won't be with the Celtics, who already have a few strong defensive guards on the roster. Regardless, here's to wishing him a speedy and successful recovery.

By the way, the Clippers are on the playoff bubble (currently the 7 seed), and will definitely miss Avery as they make their post-season push.

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Photo: Getty Images

Sean Waukewan 3/19/2018 08:00:00 PM Edit
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