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Avery Bradley aims to be Defensive Player of the Year

Having captured a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team last season, Celtics guard Avery Bradley has bigger aspirations this year.

“That’s my goal: To be Defensive Player of the Year,” Bradley told ESPN’s Chris Fosberg Monday morning at a basketball court unveiling. “I feel like [the award is] possible for me if I go out there with the right mindset.”

Bradley was the top vote-getter amongst guards in the NBA and finished right behind San Antonio‘s Kawhi Leonard and Golden State‘s Draymond Green in overall votes.

No guard has won the award in the last 20 years, as the last to do it was the ‘The Glove’ himself — Gary Payton in 1996.

“I feel like [the award is] possible for me if I go out there with the right mindset,” said Bradley.

His knack for defending and wanting to defend the toughest players at his position has made him a match-up nightmare. Just ask Stephen Curry who only had to go against him twice last year.

The 6-foot-2 shooting guard out of Texas plays impeccable on-ball defense and did the right things chasing Curry off screens.

The best defense against someone who’s having a career year is to not let him get the ball at all, and while he does make some huge shots, it’s the little things that make coach Brad Stevens clap from the sidelines.

Bradley is only 25 years old and while he has a reputation as a gritty, highly-intelligent defender in the NBA, we’re yet to see it show on the stat sheet.

He only averaged 2.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game last season and while his defense passes the eye test with flying colors, he’ll need to boost those numbers to become a serious threat to win the award.

Payton averaged 4.2 rebounds and an eye-popping 2.9 steals per game the season he won the award.

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