Avery Bradley is no stranger to playing with superstar players. In his first three seasons in the NBA, Bradley played alongside Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, who Lakers fans know well from the 2008 and 2010 NBA Finals (we don’t talk about the former, for obvious reasons).
This season, Bradley will have the opportunity to play an important role alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Los Angeles. Bradley hasn’t resembled the player he was during his time with Boston over the last three seasons, but he’s confident he can have a bounce back year by sharing the floor with rim protectors like Davis, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard.
”I think it’s going to help me a lot,” Bradley said at media day last week. “This is actually my first time since Kevin Garnett playing with some bigs that have that defensive mentality. I feel like it’s going to help me and help them.
“It’s going to help my defensive game, I can go to the next level. I’m obviously going to have the back line to protect the rim so I can be solid, but every now and then take some chances on the defensive end. I feel like ultimately that’s going to help me as a player to improve on the defensive end.”
Bradley also believes that being on a star-studded team like the Lakers will force him to be at his best, something he said he experienced during his early days with the “Big 3” Celtics.
“When I played with those guys earlier in my career, I couldn’t take days off. If I took days off, KG was going to cuss me out, so I had to make sure I brought my A-game every single day, and I wanted to challenge myself to reach my A-game every single day so that I could reach my full potential as a person and as a player,” Bradley said.
Bradley has left plenty of room for skepticism with his play in recent years, but there’s also room for optimism and it stems from this idea that Bradley will thrive in a complementary role to stars forwards under defensive-minded coaches like Frank Vogel and Lionel Hollins.
Is that optimism misplaced? Perhaps, but given the team’s lack of viable options at point guard, it’s all Lakers fans have leading up to Friday’s preseason game against the Golden State Warriors. Let’s hope Bradley proves the fans rooting for him right.