Going into the 2017 offseason, the Detroit Pistons faced a decision on whether to pay Kentavious Caldwell-Pope big money, probably a figure around $100 million over five years. It seemed abundantly clear that the Pistons would give Caldwell-Pope his money and he would be the shooting guard of the long-term future. That was, until, the Boston Celtics let the NBA know that they were fielding offers for one of the best two-way shooting guards in the league in Avery Bradley. Boston was doing so in an effort to shed salary so that they could sign Gordon Hayward. Clearly, Stan Van Gundy worked his magic again on Friday morning, and traded Marcus Morris to Boston in exchange for a 2020 second round draft pick, and an elite defensive minded shooting guard in Avery Bradley.
So how exactly does Avery Bradley fit in with the Pistons?
With no intent at an exaggeration, Bradley is an absolutely perfect fit with the Detroit Pistons. When I say “perfect”, I mean for the team and for the city as well. Detroit is known for their blue-collared, hardworking people, and Bradley fits that mold as well as anybody else. For the people who thought Caldwell-Pope was a good defender, Bradley is on an even higher level of being a ball-hawking defender. Every single night, Bradley will be guarding the opposing team’s best guard with high intensity and energy. This is especially important for the Pistons, considering on some occasions, the team lacked any sort of a pulse. Also, Reggie Jackson is a below average defender, so having Bradley share the backcourt with him makes his life much easier for everyone involved.
This may sound cliché, but another trait Bradley brings to the table is a great attitude. As we’ve seen over the past couple years, the Pistons haven’t necessarily had the best attitude on certain issues. We’ve seen Andre Drummond pout and look lethargic when things don’t go his way or when he’s missing free throws. Reggie Jackson has also had his spats both in Detroit and Oklahoma City, and as a whole roster, we’ve even heard about the team having a “team meeting” where egos dominated the discussion instead of addressing legitimate basketball issues. Attitude is something that can be contagious for a basketball team, and Bradley has been a true professional throughout his entire career and has been truly loved by his former teammates. He is a guy that’s going to come in and get straight to work, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him act as a mentor to the younger guys on the roster, even though he is just 26 years old himself.
Generally, when a player is elite on the defensive side of the basketball, they lack an offensive game. That is certainly not the case with Bradley. He’s improved offensively every year of his seven-year career, with the 2016-2017 season being his best on the offensive end. Bradley averaged 16.3 points per contest on 46 percent shooting from the field, and 39 percent shooting from three-point distance. Bradley would’ve been the best three-point shooter on the Pistons team last season, so his ability from long range addresses a huge need and it’s even better when he can defend at a high level the very next possession.
Another nice asset Bradley brings to the Pistons, is his ability to play both guard positions. According to Basketball Reference, Bradley has played 40 percent of his career minutes at point guard. Last year, he spent 16 percent of his minutes on the floor manning the point guard duties.
Bradley does only have one year remaining on his current contract and it’s apparent he’s going to be seeking a big payday in the summer of 2018. The Pistons have a full year with him to “in house” recruit and it’s already been reported they intend to sign him to a contract extension. Bradley is everything a coach and fan base would want in a player, and the Pistons are lucky to have him, and they’re even luckier they only had to give up Marcus Morris in return, as you’d expect a player like Bradley would demand a bigger haul.
Bradley will make the Pistons a better team going into next season, and along with the other roster changes that have been made, the Pistons are putting together a competitive roster for the upcoming year.
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