RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Avery BradleyPosted by rtmsf on June 9th, 2010
Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.
Player Name: Avery Bradley
Height/Weight: 6’3, 180
NBA Position: SG
Projected Draft Range: Mid to late 1st round
Overview: The much-hyped Avery Bradley experienced an up-and-down four months in his one and only season in Austin. Bradley helped transform Texas into an early season Final Four favorite, providing head coach Rick Barnes with exemplary perimeter defense paired with Dogus Balbay and even mixing in a taste of 20+ point offensive explosions along the way. Bradley’s most prominent stretch came in the middle of the Texas campaign just prior to their unfortunate collapse when the lengthy guard dropped 29 vs. Colorado and 24 at Iowa State in back-to-back early January performances that surely raised the expectations of the burnt orange faithful. After those virtuoso scoring nights, Bradley would post ten points or less in ten games until the Texas season came to a shocking end in the first round against Wake Forest (Bradley shot 4-15 for nine points). Of course, scoring doesn’t tell the entire story of Bradley’s game; stellar perimeter defense, explosiveness/athleticism and the ability to grab a key rebound in Rajon Rondo-like fashion all prompted enough NBA GMs and scouts to give him a first-round guarantee. Still, Bradley leaves Texas with little accomplished in a year that was supposed to reap major achievements.
Will Translate to the NBA: Bradley isn’t necessarily known for his offense, but a 38% three-point mark as a freshman is exceptional. He has the ability to run off screens for catch-and-shoot opportunities from deep or pull up off the dribble and utilize outstanding elevation to get his shot off. It would benefit Bradley if he could perfect a floater in the lane to avoid relying too much on his sometimes inconsistent jump shot. A player with intelligence beyond his years, Bradley knows how to read opposing defenses and boasts the quickness to create just enough room to find an open look. What can make Bradley a real asset at the next level is his defense. His on-ball defense is phenomenal for a 19-year old, so good it could be used for an instructional video. You will rarely see Bradley lose focus or not be in a low defensive stance on that side of the floor. Bradley is also a very gifted off-the-ball defender, always chasing his opponent around the court. Even if he’s a bit undersized, peg Bradley and his 6’7 wingspan on a top shooting guard in the NBA and he would be able to hold his own right away.
Needs Work: With Bradley’s height, point guard would seemingly be the ideal position for him at the next level, but he simply lacks that ability at this stage in his career. Running the point takes an endless amount of practice and repetition, meaning it’s extremely long odds that Bradley ever learns how to play that position effectively. He’s never been apt at playmaking or setting up teammates for open scoring opportunities. His court vision is well below average and often times at Texas the ball would deflate in his hands. Bradley will have to play shooting guard in the NBA and could be frustrated with those bigger defenders. It doesn’t help that he wasn’t exactly proficient at scoring on penetration in his one year at Texas and rarely got to the free throw line (where he shot a ghastly 55%). At 6’3, his future NBA coach will likely have to match Bradley on the defensive end with either a point guard or a shorter two-guard to prevent a destructive height mismatch.
Comparison Players: We’ve heard two ridiculous comparisons to Bradley — Russell Westbrook and Monta Ellis. While Westbrook entered the Draft with the same question marks about whether he could run the point, he was much better at attacking the rim to score and a more gifted passer. Bradley cannot score at nearly the same rate as Ellis or even the Clippers’ Eric Gordon. We see Jerryd Bayless in Bradley’s game: he lacks a true position, can catch fire from deep and is not an especially gifted passer. We can’t see Bayless or Bradley ever reaching All-Star levels during their NBA careers.
Best Case Scenario: Bradley only played one tumultuous year at the collegiate level and is just 19 years old, meaning there’s plenty of time and opportunity to improve those holes in his game. Although it’s likely Bradley won’t grow two inches, tweener guards have survived in the NBA before and they will again. Bradley already has a decent stroke from downtown and the athleticism to make plays for himself scoring-wise, but he could become an impact starter if he 1) makes defenders respect his penetration ability; 2) drastically improves his FT%; and 3) works on creating shot opportunities for others with the ball in his hands.
2013 Projection: Our best guess for Avery Bradley is that he’ll be a 7th or 8th man for a contending team in three seasons. There are too many limitations to his game to project much loftier heights at this point. His defensive intensity and three-point shooting ability should keep him in most rotations for years to come.
Best NBA Fit: Hopefully Bradley sticks with a team that values defense and gives him a chance to develop his overall floor game. The highest Bradley could go is #10 to the Pacers depending on how much they believe he can improve to Westbrook’s level. If not, Chicago at #17 and Miami at #18 are possibilities. We know Pat Riley loves drafting tough-minded, physical and athletic guards with some scoring punch. With both the Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau and the Heat’ Erik Spoelstra, Bradley’s defense will certainly be valued properly.
* Zach Hayes contributed this profile to RTC