One day before the beginning of the 2021-22 regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers claimed Avery Bradley off of waivers. While it was a seemingly confusing decision at the time, the first three games of the season have shown his temporary need.
Without Kendrick Nunn, Talen Horton-Tucker and Trevor Ariza in the lineup due to injury, L.A.’s defense has suffered in an immense way, with players like Malik Monk and Kent Bazemore being asked to do an inordinate amount of heavy lifting on the perimeter.
Bradley has eased that burden, putting together short and effective stints during the first three games while playing on a non-guaranteed deal. Of course, the nature of his contract means that his time with the Lakers could end at any time.
Bradley is prepared for that, though, as he discussed his day-to-day mindset. “I think I just have to take things one day at a time, continue to be professional, continue to be prepared and what happens, happens. So all I can do is control what I can control and that’s me being a professional and working hard every day.”
The Lakers guard has been through his fair share of difficulties over the past year or so. After opting out of the bubble with the Lakers, he signed with the Miami Heat and was traded to the Houston Rockets all while dealing with an injury.
Then, he signed with the Golden State Warriors but failed to make their final roster. All of this has led him back to the Lakers, where he is simply trying to prove he still belongs in the NBA.
He’s done that through the first three games of the season, but it’s unclear if the Lakers plan to hang on to him once Nunn, Horton-Tucker and Ariza are healthy.
Bradley can still provide value as a hard-nosed defender and catch-and-shoot threat, but the Lakers may want the flexibility of a 15th roster spot if their primary defenders are all healthy.
Vogel praises Monk and Reaves
The Lakers’ first win of the season against the Memphis Grizzlies was also a standout night from Monk and Austin Reaves, who both played their best games as Lakers. Frank Vogel was impressed with both of their efforts, and highlighted that after the game.
“They were terrific,” Vogel said. “I didn’t think I’d be putting Austin on Ja Morant but it ended up that way and he’s just playing well on both sides of the ball. He did a good job of competing. Every time when his number is called, he gets in there and plays well.
“And I love Monk’s instincts for the game, I really do. It’s just one of those things, like just using his athleticism defensively, getting up to speed with how we want to execute our defensive schemes, he’s really come along with that and both of those guys were a huge part of the win.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!