Avery Bradley unexpectedly joined the Los Angeles Lakers on the eve of the 2021-22 season’s tip-off after a preseason injury wave struck the team. Yet, the 31-year-old guard ended up being an important rotation player under head coach Frank Vogel, starting in 45 of the 62 games he played for L.A. last year.
Bradley averaged 6.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 0.9 steals in 2021-22, shooting 42.3% from the field and a noteworthy 39% from downtown. While remaining Vogel’s go-to perimeter defender, the guard seemingly focused on providing the Lakers with some more input on the offensive end than he did during his first stint with the team two years ago.
The Purple and Gold upgraded Bradley’s non-guaranteed contract to a standard NBA deal in January, emphasizing how big of a turnaround the guard had made since the offseason. The Texas alum found himself without a team after the Golden State Warriors waived him just days before the start of the 2021-22 campaign — leading to the reunion in L.A.
However, some of Bradley’s advanced stats suggested his presence didn’t help the Lakers win games the way it did in 2019-20. L.A.’s opponents outscored the Purple and Gold by 5.8 points in the guard’s minutes, making for the fifth-worst net rating on the team. But Vogel defended Bradley, saying the numbers didn’t accurately reflect his impact on the Lakers — particularly on defense.
Bradley put up his best game of the season in December when the Lakers drubbed the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 116-95 win. The guard showed off glimpses of his best self defensively to frustrate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander throughout the game.
Also, Bradley set the tone with an early 9-0 run by himself – and, all in all, chipped in 22 points, shooting 8-for-14 from the field and 6-for-8 from deep.
Bradley seemed to be on his way out of the NBA following his 2019-20 Lakers departure. But the guard’s second spell with the team, although not ideal, likely put him back on the radar of a few general managers in the league. Bradley showed he can be a useful addition to a team’s backcourt. However, he probably won’t enjoy a role as big as he did under Vogel in his future endeavors.
One team already being linked to him this offseason though is the Cleveland Cavaliers.
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