The Boston Celtics will regret trading away emerging two-way star Avery Bradley to the Detroit Pistons for forward Marcus Morris
Avery Bradley has never gotten the respect that he deserves. In today’s offensive-driven game, fans flock to players that put up amazing offensive stats. Avery Bradley is not one of those players.
Bradley is a good shooter and can put up points when his team needs buckets, but it’s his defensive skills that make him one of the most underrated players in the league.
Most fans consider Isaiah Thomas the Celtics’ most important player. If basketball didn’t include defense, Thomas might be the most impactful player in the world. Unfortunately for Thomas, his defense is as putrid as his offense is spectacular.
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A point guard’s offensive skills are more important than his defensive skills, which is why Thomas is considered a star. Also, the Celtics have a plethora of elite wing defenders that help hide Thomas’ defensive inefficiencies. Avery Bradley was their best on-ball defender that could defend the better of the two opponents’ guards.
Now that Bradley is gone, the Celtics will have to depend on Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown to be their wing defenders. They can all defend at a high level, which would lead most casual fans to think that the Celtics won’t miss Bradley.
Crowder and Brown can defend shooting guards, small forwards, and some small-ball power forwards, but neither can defend point guards. They’ll have to depend on Smart to defend opposing point guards. But when he’s off the court and Thomas is in the game, it will be Thomas’ responsibility to defend point guards.
With the plethora of elite point guards in today’s game, this will be a huge issue for the Celtics. This issue would’ve been alleviated if they didn’t trade away Avery Bradley.
The Celtics knew they had to make a decision regarding Bradley, Smart, and Crowder this offseason. They could’ve avoided this decision if they used their plethora of assets to obtain Paul George, Jimmy Butler, or both two-way stars before watching them get traded away for pennies on the dollar. Although they were able to sign Gordon Hayward, their decision to stand pat when superstars were being traded away for minimal returns will likely end up haunting them in the long haul.
The Celtics took into account their future cap situation and the free agency of their players. Isaiah Thomas will be a free agent after the season. They know both Thomas and Bradley are going to command large contracts after the season, and decided to trade Bradley away for Marcus Morris, a solid starting forward on a cheap contract.
Morris has two more years on his contract and will be able to help the Celtics compete for a championship. But he’s no Avery Bradley.
The Celtics were shopping Bradley, Smart, and Crowder, and decided to trade the best of those three players. Crowder has multiple years left on his deal and Smart will be a restricted free agent after the season. The Celtics will have an opportunity to match any contract that a team throws Smart’s way.
They didn’t have that same luxury with Bradley, and decided that they needed to play it safe instead of taking a risk and trying to find a way to re-sign their most underrated player.
The Celtics have a ton of assets, and have decided to play it safe all offseason. With the Cavaliers self-destructing, the Celtics will have a great chance of representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. But their decision to trade away Avery Bradley will haunt them if they face the Warriors for the championship. Trading away Bradley was an understandable move, but they will regret it in the near future.