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Avery Bradley says that JaVale McGee is playing at a ‘first team defensive level’

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Avery Bradley thinks the Lakers have an elite defensive talent in JaVale McGee.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets - NBA China Games 2019 Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

This season, the Los Angeles Lakers will have five players on their roster that have made NBA All-Defensive team this decade: Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Danny Green, Avery Bradley and Dwight Howard. If they gave preseason awards, Bradley thinks there would be another name on that list: JaVale McGee.

After the team’s 126-93 over the Warriors on Wednesday, Bradley said that McGee has played defense at an All-NBA level so far.

“First, JaVale so far, I know it’s early in the season but he’s playing at a First-Team defensive level to me. He’s one of the best bigs I’ve ever played with defensively. It helps us in our job, my job specifically, to make sure I get into those guys try to funnel them into the basket so those guys can have opportunities to block shots and we can get out on the rim. I’m gonna try to do that each and every night, nut it definitely makes it easier knowing that we have those guys down there,” Bradley said.

Through five appearances in the preseason, McGee posted the third-highest defensive rating (88) of any Laker that played a minimum of four games. Only Alex Caruso (87.2) and Danny Green (84.5) posted a better defensive rating.

With Davis in the front court with him, McGee might not swat away as many blocks or grab as many rebounds as he did last season, but he should be a more efficient shot-blocker and rebounder with less responsibility.

Will that earn him a spot on an All-Defensive Team? Maybe not, but it will help the Lakers win games and form a defensive identity under head coach Frank Vogel.

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