When the Los Angeles Lakers return to playing basketball at the end of July, they’ll have to do it without Avery Bradley. He is sitting out the remainder of the season due to health concerns surrounding his 6-year-old son.
The Lakers losing Bradley is huge, as he and Danny Green made a formidable defensive duo on the perimeter. His spot on the roster was taken by JR Smith, though hey may play sparingly.
Bradley’s minutes will likely be spread around the roster, with the bulk of playing time preferably going to good perimeter defenders like Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Green will also see an increased role, as he’ll be tasked with top guard assignments like Ja Morant and others.
Green is welcoming the challenge of being the Lakers primary perimeter defender and believes it will translate to his overall game, via “Inside the Green Room”:
“Very excited. This is definitely something I’m looking forward to. Obviously, Avery made it easier for me on the defensive end of the floor. We were able to switch and he also picks up 94 feet, but to be able to take on that challenge night in and night out — hopefully coach looks to me as a primary defender — is something I look forward to. It’s something that keeps me involved in the game, more locked in and more focused to be able to play my game. Because my defense usually carries over to my offense. I really look forward to attacking the challenge and embrace being the primary defender on the team.”
Throughout Green’s career, he has proven himself to be an extremely capable wing defender, and is considered one of the league’s prototypes for a three-and-D wing. However, being the primary defender on opposing guards will be a unique challenge for him, as Bradley, Caruso and Caldwell-Pope have done a majority of that this season.
Caldwell-Pope will likely slide into the starting lineup, given how similar the two players are. But Green might still be tasked with more star assignments than he got during the regular season.
Green has said that he wants to make Bradley proud when the season resumes, and part of that battle for him absolutely lives on the defensive end. The Lakers surprised many by being one of the NBA’s best defenses. Should that continue without the help of Bradley, there’s no doubt he’ll be proud.
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