After leaving Saturday’s loss to the Hawks with an apparent hamstring injury, Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens said that Avery Bradley’s injury is “pretty significant” and that he’s doubtful for the rest of the series. He was Boston’s leading scorer before he departed.
Bradley’s coming off a career-year and finished the regular season with career-highs in points (15.1), steals (1.5), and PER (13.2). Even with having a the best all-around season of his career, Bradley was still unable to play a full season and appeared in 76 games this year. He’s arguably the best perimeter defender on the team despite having a down year as far as metrics go, but Boston’s offense is significantly better with him on the floor.
The Celtics’ offensive rating per 100 possessions is 109.8 when Bradley’s on the court, compared to 101 when he’s off. He made more threes this year than any other season which is a byproduct of Isaiah Thomas’ ability to collapse the defense. His aggression didn’t cease and he still got up a decent amount of shots, but him not having to be a focal point of the offense leaves more energy to be spent on the defensive end of the floor.
Evan Turner will be the main guy substituting in place of Bradley. While not as great a defender as Bradley, Turner has a bigger body, longer arms, and superb athleticism and is a better at getting his teammates involved.
It’s going to be a hard-fought series no matter who fills in for Bradley. Ultimately, it boils down to Isaiah Thomas doing whatever he can on offense and playing great team defense like they have been all season.