- CLUTCH SUMMARY: The Lakers signed Avery Bradley to a two-year deal this summer.
- While Bradley has struggled in recent years, he’s now 100 percent healthy and feeling great.
- Bradley can be an important role player next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Once regarded as the best on-ball defender in the NBA, Avery Bradley will play for the Los Angeles Lakers this season after signing a two-year deal worth nearly $10 million this summer.
The former Texas Longhorns standout has bounced around the last two seasons, playing for three different teams. While Bradley has struggled these last few seasons, he can make an impact on both sides of the floor for new Lakers head coach Frank Vogel.
When healthy, he’s a great defender
Say what you want about the 28-year-old, but Bradley has been an exceptional defender when healthy and locked in. Things didn’t work out for Bradley with the Detroit Pistons or Los Angeles Clippers, and he struggled through the start of the 2018-19 season as he recovered from a groin injury. He started to show signs of life after his trade to the Memphis Grizzlies and has declared himself 100 percent this summer.
Bradley can play a key role as a defensive stopper in Los Angeles. Along with Danny Green, the Lakers have a few stellar options to throw on opposing guards to help shut them down. Whether it’s a Splash Brother or someone shifty, Bradley can clamp up anyone.
Experience … and lots of it
Playing for a Hall of Fame-bound coach such as Doc Rivers has its perks. In 2011 and 2012, a young Avery Bradley watched Boston’s Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce attempt to make their final runs at a title. Of course, LeBron James and the Miami Heat defeated those teams in the playoffs. But playing in that atmosphere against the Heat’s Big Three helped him learn what it takes to compete with the best.
Bradley made five appearances in the playoffs with the Celtics (he didn’t play in the 2011 playoffs), but he hasn’t reached the postseason since the 2016-17 campaign, when Boston again lost to LeBron in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Now in LA and playing alongside LeBron, Bradley will have elite talent next to him and a great chance to return to the playoffs. The Lakers are one of the title favorites, and Bradley can help them reach that goal.
He’s a hard worker
It has been the case Avery Bradley’s whole career: the guy is a workhorse. One thing that people don’t understand is how hard people work in the gym to be exceptional defenders. I was once at a Jr. NBA Camp where DeMarre Carroll told fans of all ages that Tony Allen works just as hard as The King does — a quote I’ve grown to appreciate.
Along with his teammates and trainers, this summer has been kind to Bradley behind closed doors. He has worked hard to overcome his previous injuries so he can return to form.
You know where he gets this work ethic from? His experience with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce on the Celtics.
Just because AB doesn’t post footage of his workouts, it doesn’t mean he isn’t working. He’s a humble guy — always has been — and lets his game do all of the talking.