Everybody taken before: Avery Bradley

The Boston Celtics took Avery Bradley with the nineteenth overall pick in 2010 and it has turned out to be one of his better picks.

When you stack him up against the same players that many teams deemed worthy of taking over Bradley, he has a lot of them beat. Danny Ainge often takes heat for drafting poorly, but you’re about to find out that a number of general managers across the league made some pretty dumb decisions by passing on Mr. Bradley.

John Wall, first overall (Washington)
Wall has been underappreciated by fans for years because he hasn’t played on many good teams, but people – especially Celtics fans – are right now finding out just how good he is. He’s been an All-Star in each of the past four seasons, a Second Team All-Defense selection and he’s also younger than current Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas.

Evan Turner, second overall (Philadelphia)
Many people expected Turner to become a star after winning National Player of the Year at Ohio State, but he’s only become an elite role player at best. After flaming out of Philadelphia and Indiana, the Celtics saved his career and he was even in play for Sixth Man of the Year during the 2015-16 campaign before taking advantage of last summer’s cap boom and signing a big deal with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Derrick Favors, third overall (New Jersey)
The Nets traded Favors just 56 games into his rookie season in order to bring in All-Star point guard Derron Williams. He’s averaged 11.4 PPG and 7.2 RPG over his seven year career. Favors averaged 16.4 PPG and 8.1 RPG last season – arguably his best as a pro – but was slowed down by injuries this year and was limited to just 50 games, only starting 39 of them.

Wesley Johnson, fourth overall (Minnesota)
Johnson has played for four teams over his seven year career, spending most of it as a starter on really bad teams. He averaged 8.5 PPG through five seasons with the Timberwolves, Suns and Lakers and has spent the last two as an end of the bench piece with the Clippers, where he scored only 2.9 PPG this past season.

DeMarcus Cousins, fifth overall (Sacramento)
It’s pretty easy to say that Cousins was the second best player among these top five picks, but he might not be worth the headache. This is a guy who is among the league leaders in technical fouls year after year and none of his past coaches are lining up to say nice things about him.

Ekpe Udoh, sixth overall (Golden State)
We’ve finally reached a guy who isn’t even in the NBA anymore. Udoh is currently on a Turkish team where he plays alongside former NBA players Anthony Bennett, Gigi Datome and Pero Antic. He averaged only 4.0 PPG and 3.2 RPG in his five year NBA career. For the amount of draft steals that the Warriors had leading up to their current state, this one is a clear bust.

Greg Monroe, seventh overall (Detroit)
Monroe played well enough to earn himself a three-year, $50 million contract when he finally reached free agency, although he has been a bit of a disappointment since inking that deal as he’s coming off the bench for the Milwaukee Bucks now. He averaged a double-double per game in his final year with the Pistons before inking that deal.

Al-Faroq Aminu, eighth overall (LA Clippers)
After struggling for a few years, Aminu finally found a home in Portland as a solid role player. After averaging just 6.4 PPG and 5.3 RPG with three teams over his first five seasons, he’s averaged 9.6 PPG and 6.6 RPG over the past two seasons with the Trail Blazers. Just like Evan Turner, he didn’t come close to what he was supposed to be, but he’s still finding ways to be productive for competitive teams.

Gordon Hayward, ninth overall (Utah)
This pick just looks better and better every year. While the former Butler star has only averaged 15.7 PPG over his seven year career, his scoring average has literally increased each season and he eclipsed over 20 PPG for the first time in his career this past season. Not too shabby for a guy who’s about to become a free agent.

Paul George, tenth overall (Indiana)
While that Utah pick continues to look better and better every year, they still left this guy on the board for the Pacers to scoop up one pick later. George has averaged over 20 PPG three times in his career, which is made even more impressive by the fact that he had to overcome a career threatening leg injury that limited him to just six games during the 2014-15 campaign.

Cole Aldrich, eleventh overall (New Orleans, traded to Oklahoma City)
The big man has spent time with six teams over his seven seasons and he’s only averaged above 15 minutes per game once in his career. It seems like there will always be a job available for Aldrich, but never one that will grant him much playing time.

Xavier Henry, twelfth overall (Memphis)
Henry hasn’t played an NBA game since 2014 and he’s been jumping around with a few teams in the D-League for the past few seasons.

Ed Davis, thirteenth overall (Toronto)
It seemed like Davis was just starting to turn a corner during the 2012-13 season with the Raptors. He was averaging 9.7 PPG and 6.7 RPG but he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies at the deadline to bolster their depth and he lost a lot of minutes in the process. Davis is now a rebounding and energy big who comes off the bench for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Patrick Patterson, fourteenth overall (Houston)
Patterson has essentially become a poor man’s Kelly Olynyk. He’s a stretch power forward who can step out and knock down a three and is a capable – but not great – player in most other areas. Each player has shot 36.8% from beyond the arc over their NBA careers, but per possession Olynyk edges Patterson in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. The two players both average 1.1 blocks per 100 possessions.

Larry Sanders, fifteenth overall (Milwaukee)
People saw Sanders as a guy who was just about to tap into his full potential when he unexpectedly walked away from the game in 2014. He tried to mount a comeback this past season and the Cleveland Cavaliers signed him after Andrew Bogut broke his leg, but he wound up playing D-League minutes once signing with the Cavaliers before the team eventually cut their losses and released Sanders.

Luke Babbitt, sixteenth overall (Minnesota, traded to Portland)
You want a sharpshooter? Here is your guy. Babbitt can shoot with the best in the league and he’s eclipsed 40% from beyond the arc in each of the past three seasons, while also topping it during the 2011-12 season; he even shot an insane 51.3% from beyond the arc during the 2014-15 campaign. While he can flat out shoot, every other aspect of his game is pretty weak which is why he’s averaged at most 18.0 minutes per game in his career, totaling out to a career average of just 13.9.

Kevin Seraphin, seventeenth overall (Chicago, traded to Washington)
Seraphin is a career backup center who averaged 6.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 0.8 BPG through five seasons with the Washington Wizards before starting life as a journeyman. He spent the 2015-16 season with the New York Knicks and was with the Indiana Pacers this past season, coming off the bench in a total of 97 games and racking up a number of DNP – Coach’s Decisions.

Eric Bledsoe, eighteenth overall (Miami, traded to LA Clippers)
Injuries are the only thing slowing Bledsoe down at this point. He’s averaged over 20 PPG in each of the past two years with the Suns but he’s been limited to just 97 games between the two seasons. Phoenix will have another top pick again this year so if he can stay healthy and they strike gold on the pick, this team could be building something special with Devin Booker and a few other attractive young pieces already on the roster.

Avery Bradley, nineteenth overall (Boston)
We made it to Bradley!

First off, there isn’t a single All-Star player who was taken in this draft after Paul George at ten so Ainge didn’t leave too much on the table; although it wouldn’t be far fetched to see Hassan Whiteside – who was taken 33rd overall by the Sacramento Kings and cut after appearing in only 19 games with the team – making an All-Star appearance at some point. Whiteside is easily the best player who was taken after Bradley and it’s honestly hard to find the  next best player after that. It’s probably Lance Stephenson, who was taken 40th overall by the Pacers.

Bradley turned out to be a steal at nineteen when you look back at this draft. He would easily be a top ten pick if you did this draft over and if you look at the picks between George at ten and Bradley, Eric Bledsoe is probably the only guy who could crack the Celtics current rotation while you could make the argument that Patrick Patterson is a very slight upgrade over what Jonas Jerebko is currently giving the team. Boston is very lucky he fell into their laps on draft night.

A lot of people sat in the middle on Bradley heading into the 2010 draft. Bleacher Report projected him to be the eighteenth overall pick, but also warned readers of his bust potential.

Many mocks have Bradley dropping out of the first round due to his erratic play, small stature, and lack of a true position.

While all of those knocks are fairly warranted, it’s also quite clear that Bradley is young, athletic, and oozing with potential. If he’s able to come off the bench as a role player in his first season, he could shine.

He didn’t really have the opportunity to come off the bench and be a role player in his first season but he was starting over Ray Allen by the end of year two, even starting ten playoff games before a shoulder injury cut his season short.

FOX Sports also had Bradley going 18th overall while also questioning who he would be as an NBA player, just like Bleacher Report.

There is a school of thought that Bradley can be a point guard at the next level. Personally, I question it — but I’ve been told the Heat, who need a floor leader, feel he may be able to make the conversion.

The Heat would wind up singing LeBron James just weeks after the draft that year and the shape of their franchise would change as he became the floor leader that they were apparently looking for that summer. Bradley did get a serious run as a point guard at the start of the 2013-14 season when Rajon Rondo was still recovering from a torn ACL, but that never really got off the ground as he’s been a solid shooting guard for almost his entire career.


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