Avery Bradley Believes Lakers’ Defensive Group Is ‘Different’ Than 2019-20 But Can Be Equally As Effective
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Avery Bradley has exceeded expectations following his Los Angeles Lakers reunion, which earned him a guaranteed contract until the end of the season.

Bradley’s career took a detour after he left L.A. in 2020. The former 19th overall pick didn’t get to hang around for too long during his stops in Miami, Houston, and then San Francisco. He eventually found himself without an employer when the Golden State Warriors waived him just days before the 2021-22 campaign’s tip-off.

But the 31-year-old turned out to be a great fit with the Lakers again. He became the anchor of L.A.’s defense — just as he did in the regular season of the triumphant 2019-20.

Bradley acknowledges this year’s Lakers are a different group than the one he left two years ago, which memorably developed into the nightmare of the NBA’s offenses. Still, he approaches his defensive responsibilities with the same mindset.

“It’s a lot different. But defense for me is always effort,” Bradley said. “The entire coaching staff does a great job putting us in the right position and it’s our job to go out there and make sure we’re watching the edits before the game, preparing for the game, and then going out there and playing with effort.”

Bradley believes that effort can allow the Lakers to stand a chance against any NBA rival.

“If we can do that, I feel like we can give ourselves a chance every single night.”

Besides Bradley’s impact on defense, the guard has been lethal from beyond the arc this season, making 40.5% of his attempted triples. He’s only averaged a 3-point shooting percentage over 40% on a season twice in his career — last time doing so during his first stint with the Lakers.

LeBron James emphasizes Bradley’s contribution on offense

James has commended Bradley for his professionalism and understanding of the role he’s been given this season. The four-time NBA champion also pointed out the guard’s offensive contribution even though he is mainly expected to lead the way on the defensive end.

“He’s just a true professional and that’s a guy who knows exactly what his role is and he never steps outside of that,” James said. “Never tries to do too much, never tries to do something he can’t do and he literally gets the most out of what he does every single night.

“For us, it’s never about him making shots. He brings a defensive intensity that everybody just feeds off of. But then when you have a game that he has 13 in the first quarter and he’s aggressive offensively, that’s all extra credit that we love. We always want him to be more aggressive offensively because he shoots the ball extremely well, but it’s just a treat to have him.”

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