August 25, 2021 

Crystal Bradford out with a broken foot

Injury to one of the rare bright spots of the Atlanta Dream signals again toward the lottery

Almost everything that could have gone wrong for the Atlanta Dream in 2021 did. Until Tuesday, Crystal Bradford was the anomaly.

On Wednesday, the Dream announced that Bradford would miss time after breaking a bone in her left foot during Tuesday’s contest against the Chicago Sky. Though the Dream have yet to release a timetable, a Bradford return in 2021 would seem unlikely given the nature of her injury. And the lottery-bound status of the season.

After spending six seasons away from the league, Bradford took the 2021 season by storm. And grew into one of the WNBA’s most entertaining and unorthodox talents prompting a Most Improved Player campaign. And turning the Dream, if only for a brief second, into a possible playoff contender.

Bradford carried the Dream on multiple nights this season, sporting a play style that impressed her teammates and coaches almost as much as it baffled her opponents. Across 24 games with the Dream, Bradford transformed into a bonafide starter, shot-creator and leader on a team that desperately needed all three. Bradford made the most of her 18 minutes per game on the court, averaging 8.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals.

She also wasn’t shy to create her own moments off the court, on a private jet or otherwise: 

As Bradford heals, the Dream are down to one healthy shot-creator in Courtney Williams; are effectively locked into the lottery with a 6-18 record, which includes a 2-16 stretch since the start of June. The front office can use the remaining eight games to gauge the development of the 2021 lottery pick Aari McDonald. And to determine which of the many expiring contracts will return in the 2022 season. The team will also search for its first win under Darius Taylor.

In the words of former coach Mike Petersen, “no one on the planet thought that Crystal Bradford would make it on a WNBA roster.” Even after her injury, you’d be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn’t expect her to be on a roster next season. The league’s most prolific spinner should be back. Until then, the inactive list — which includes Bradford, Tiffany Hayes, Chennedy Carter, Cheyenne Parker and Candice Dupree — will look to summarize Atlanta’s season better than any lengthy article could.

Written by Spencer Nusbaum

Atlanta Dream & Big 12 reporter, breaking news and other things.

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