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Pacers 1st Round Draft Possiblities: Avery Bradley

Now that the NBA Draft Lottery is out of the way, it's time to start profiling the Pacers possibilities for 1st Round picks. The profiles will follow the same format as my 2nd Rounders, with a little bit more detail.

The Pacers received the 10th pick in the Lottery, but several possibilities for trading down and/or acquiring multiple picks have been floating around. For that reason I'm going to examine anyone who might help the Pacers, and then discuss within the profile any steps which might need to be taken to acquire that player.

We have just over a month until the draft, so I'll try to get a profile out every day or two. Here's who we'll be looking at today:

Avery Bradley - PG/SG - 6' 3.25"  180lbs. - University of Texas


Ten Important Stats - Avery Bradley

Pts/40 Reb/40 Ast/40 Stl/40 eFG% 3PT% FT% FT/40 A/TO PPR
15.8 3.9 2.8 1.8 49.0% 37.5% 54.5 2.6 1.37 -0.51

Strengths -

  • Although Bradley doesn't have an ideal physical profile for a player who may spend significant time at the shooting guard position, there are some things to like. At 6' 3.25" he has great height for a point guard, but is on the short side for a shooting guard. His wingspan did measure out at 6' 7.25" which will help off-set some of his lack of height. Bradley does have terrific quickness, speed and leaping ability, and will compare favorably to NBA players at either backcourt position in these regards.
  • Bradley came into college with a reputation as a potent and versatile scorer. After one season it's clear that his biggest strength is actually on the defensive end. Bradley played with great effort and intensity, using his long wingspan and footspeed to provide constant ball pressure. Looking across the many draft profiles available on the Internet, there are a lot of opinions on Bradley's ceiling, but there seems to be a solid consensus that he is the best perimeter defender available in this year's draft. Bigger, stronger guards will always have an advantage against Bradley, but whoever drafts him can count on maximum effort at the defensive end.
  • Bradley was a terrific shooter in high school, but really struggled this year at Texas. He still managed to shoot 37.5% on 3PTs, but only 6 players projected to be picked in this year's draft had a lower eFG%. The positive aspect is that he displays textbook form on his jumper, and his shot the lights out in workouts thus far. It certainly appears his performance this season was an anomaly, and he should be an excellent jumpshooter at the next level.
  • Bradley has demonstrated himself to be a willing passer, if not a very effective one. He handled the ball well in the pick and roll, but looked much more comfortable looking for his own shot in these situations. He can move the ball in the flow of the offense, making the right pass at the right time.
  • Bradley demonstrated terrific intangibles in his one season at Texas. His team had a very disappointing season, he struggled at times with his performance and with his role, but never let it affect his effort on the floor. He went out, competed and worked hard, never complaining about a lack of shots or seeking an increased offensive role. Bradley seems ready and willing to learn and put in the work to maximize his physical tools.

Weaknesses -

  • Many of the questions about Bradley's potential revolve around his combination of size and skills. Simply put, he is a shooting guard in a point guard's body. There has been talk of him transitioning to the point in the NBA, but it is worth noting that he played shooting guard almost exclusively in high school and his lone college season. This not a case where Bradley was playing out of position to make room at the point for a more talented teammate. He will move the ball and find the open man, but doesn't look comfortable creating shots for his teammates.
  • Bradley has the physical tools to be very effective with dribble penetration, but has a long way to go in this area. He occasionally seemed to decide what type of shot he was going to take before getting to the basket, instead of reacting to the defense. This made him a very poor finisher in traffic. He also was well below-average with regards to drawing fouls. In addition, he was a terrible free-throw shooter this season.
  • As I mentioned above, his lack of size and strength will make it difficult for him to defend bigger stronger backcourt players in the NBA.

How he can help the Pacers -

  • Bradley has a few NBA ready skills which could help him find minutes for the Pacers next season. I don't think Bradley is the answer at point guard now or in the future, but he is an excellent defender and can be an effective spot-up shooter right away. The quality of these skills could allow the Pacers to give him minutes off the bench right away and allow the rest of his game to develop at its own pace. He doesn't project to be a starting point guard, but could develop enough to fill minutes there if paired with the right combination of other players with strong ball-handling ability.
  • Bradley could work well in a few bench lineups with the current Pacers roster. If A.J. Price isn't ready to go at the beginning of next year, Bradley could play in the backcourt with Mike Dunleavy and Dahntay Jones. Dunleavy has the ability to initiate the offense, and Bradley is a good enough shooter to off-set the "floor shrinking" Jim O'Brien lamented last season when Jones was on the court. When Price returns, Bradley can play alongside him in the backcourt, defending shooting guards for 10 - 12 minutes a game, allowing Jones to slide to small forward.
  • Bradley seems to moving up the draft boards quickly. There could be a chance to trade down and still grab him, but by the time the draft rolls around, taking him at #10 may be the Pacers only option.

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