Avery Bradley isn’t a star.
The Boston Celtics guard managed the solid but unspectacular stat line of 15.2 points, 2.1 assists, and 1.5 steals per game during the regular season. He’s closer to a streaky three-point shooter than a true marksman, regressed from mid-range in 2015-16 compared to years past, and doesn’t quite have an argument as basketball’s premier perimeter defender despite his burgeoning reputation.
Bradley, obviously, has holes in his game. Not even the biggest Celtics homer would suggest otherwise. What should be even more clear to the basketball world, though, is the sixth-year veteran’s immense importance to his team on both ends of the floor – a sad reality for Boston considering he’s likely to miss a portion of the playoffs at the very least.
Midway through the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ tooth-and-nail 102-101 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of the team’s first-round playoff series Saturday night, Bradley pulled up limp and went down in a heap on the Philips Arena floor. The worst fears of a head injury were erased moments later when he reached for the back of his right leg and was helped to his feet by teammates. Room for optimism remained even after the Celtics announced he wouldn’t return to the game due to a strained hamstring.