When news that the 2019-20 season would resume in a bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, several players were hesitant to participate for various reasons. Avery Bradley ultimately decided to sit out the restart order to take care of his son, understandable giving the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Bradley had been a staple in Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel’s lineup, starting 44 games and setting the defensive tone by picking up guards full court. His opt out shook up what was already a suspect guard rotation and the likes of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso were forced into larger roles as a result.
However, it did not end up mattering too much in the end as Los Angeles won the 2020 NBA championship over the Miami Heat. The aforementioned guards played elite-level defense and were able to contribute just enough on offense to push L.A. over the edge.
Despite not sharing the floor with his teammates to finish the title chase, Bradley will still be receiving a ring, according to Dave McMenamin and Malika Andrews of ESPN:
Pelinka has already said that Bradley will be receiving a ring. “You play your whole career working for a championship,” Bradley said, “and knowing that I was this close and a part of something, even though I wasn’t there, is still an amazing feeling.”
It is only right Bradley is honored with the ring because although he was not on the floor for the restart, he was still an integral part of the regular season success and helped set them up to take the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
Bradley was also a reliable spot-up shooter and cutter, two important skills needed on a LeBron James-led team. Vogel and backcourt running mate Danny Green admitted the Lakers missed Bradley’s impact during their postseason run, but were able to make due with what they had and still succeed.
Bradley has a player option for next season and would a welcomed addition if he chooses to return.
Bradley’s confidence in team pays off
Prior to the beginning of the playoffs, Bradley expressed his confidence that the Lakers would be able to win a championship despite his absence. His decision to sit out could have derailed their postseason run as they faced off against tough scoring guards in Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, James Harden and Jamal Murray en route to their title matchup against the Heat.
However, his faith in his teammates was rewarded and now the guard gets to call himself a champion.
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