This wasn’t unexpected news, but is still disappointing. Avery Bradley was considered a significant piece of the Blake Griffin trade as a 3 and D guard who could fill in for the injured Patrick Beverley. Instead, Bradley never looked 100%, and played only six up-and-down games with the Clippers before the All Star Break. In those games, he averaged 9.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game in 27.5 minutes on 47.3% shooting from the field and 11.1% from three. He hasn’t played since the break, and now he’s going to miss the rest of the season.
For the Clippers, this means there will be even more pressure on young players Sindarius Thornwell and Jawun Evans. There is no prospect of reinforcements (though Tyrone Wallace and CJ Williams will probably return after the G-League season is over) on the horizon, and the rookies will have to play real rotation minutes the rest of the season. Sin and Jawun have shown themselves ready to the challenge, but neither have the outside shooting or experienced defense of Bradley. There’s no question his absence will hurt.
For Bradley, the surgery makes sense. He’s a free agent this summer, and has already lost a lot of money due to his subpar season. Returning to play this season and fighting through an injury to play wasn’t going to help his cause. The Clippers said he should recover in six to eight weeks, but he will need rehab after that. Even with a lengthier recovery time, he should be healthy by free agency, and will be fully in game shape by next October, which is what really matters to him.
Bradley might re-sign with the Clippers. They’ve said they like him, and his value has gone down so much they could keep him for a lot cheaper than they might have thought a few months ago. But there’s still a good possibility that Avery Bradley’s brief Clippers’ stint is already over.