At Avery Bradley’s best as a member of the Boston Celtics, he was viewed as one of the league’s best role players.
An elite defender capable of locking down the league’s top guards, the new Lakers signing was also an above-average three-point shooter.
In Bradley’s time with the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Clippers, he looked like a shell of his former self as his play on both sides of the ball dropped. He was dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies at the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline and there he began to resemble his former self.
In 14 games in Memphis, Bradley averaged 16.1 points and 4.0 assists while shooting 38.4% from the three-point line. The 28-year-old himself admitted that being in Memphis gave him the opportunity and confidence boost he needed.
“With basketball it’s all about opportunity and confidence. Those two places, I was given the opportunity but I don’t feel like all the confidence was there,” Bradley noted during a conference call.
“Memphis was what I needed. First thing they told me was go out there and play like you played in Boston. I think that’s what I needed. I needed just to play free, play for teammates, go out there and compete every single possession, and that’s what I did. I feel like I was able to show I still have that Avery Bradley from Boston in me.”
If Bradley is playing at his Celtics level, that would give the Lakers a huge weapon. One major concern for the team is their ability to guard smaller point guards and Bradley would be an answer to that. He also gives the Lakers another above-average floor spacer when teams collapse on LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The question now is whether Bradley still has that level of play in him for an entire season. It was only 14 games in Memphis and that doesn’t always translate to the following season. But sometimes confidence is all a player needs and if Bradley has that, he could be a big difference-maker for this Lakers team.