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Why the Lakers Need Avery Bradley to Produce Bounce-Back Season

Avery Bradley

The Los Angeles Lakers have been confident of the impact that Avery Bradley will provide them this season. It will be up to him to produce despite the expectations being raised.

During the early portion of training camp, it seemed that the player that most Lakers players and coaches were praising was Bradley. Head coach Frank Vogel and the superstars — LeBron James and Anthony Davis — were the most prominent voices that gave Bradley their nod of approval by highlighting his defensive impact.

While there has been a disconnect between the perception of Bradley’s defensive impact from players and analysts, the offensive end of the floor is where the greatest turnaround is needed. Aside from his 14 games with the Memphis Grizzlies last season, he has significantly underachieved in this area in recent seasons.

During his 49 games with the Los Angeles Clippers last season, Bradley averaged a mere 8.2 points, 2.0 assists, and 1.2 turnovers. The main issue with his offensive production was in his lack of offensive efficiency. His output of 0.811 points per possession as a scorer with the Clippers ranked 255th out of the 259 players with at least 400 scoring possessions.

The one area where Bradley succeeded during his time with the Clippers was in spot-up situations. Those particular plays accounted for 28.4 percent of his offensive possessions and he produced 1.071 points per possession (73rd percentile). Aside from that, he was a liability in areas such as pick-and-roll ball handling, transition, handoffs, cutting, and off-screens.

The lack of efficiency from Bradley has continued into preseason play with the Lakers. He has averaged only 6.3 points while shooting 36.4 percent from the field and missing all seven of his attempts from beyond the arc. While preseason production isn’t something to look into with great focus, it at least shows that he has yet to hit the ground running in his production.

There were some positive signs from Bradley’s preseason play despite the underwhelming statistical output that he has provided. He showed an ability to break down the defense off the dribble for finishes and also to create pull-up mid-range jumpers. Those are two attributes that many of the Lakers’ guards do not typically do with much consistency.

The fact of the matter is the Lakers are going to need Bradley to be as impactful of a defender as they have advertised him as being in training camp. As for the offensive end of the floor, being able to to create his own shot is a nice bonus but he will need to be consistent in catch-and-shoot situations.

Only time will tell if Avery Bradley is worth the two-year, $9.8 million contract that he signed with the Lakers. There are a few alternative options to Bradley that the Lakers have in the event that he struggles to perform. Both Alex Caruso and Troy Daniels have proven to be reliable spot-up shooting threats in their careers and have made an impact at the shooting guard position.

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