Avery Bradley returned to the Los Angeles Lakers unexpectedly just the day before the 2021-22 season’s tip-off. Yet, he has played in all but one game ever since, starting 16 of them.
Head coach Frank Vogel brought Bradley in, hoping he can buttress the crumbling Lakers’ defense amid the injury wave that had hit L.A. Since the Boston Celtics picked the guard with the 19th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the now-31-year-old has made a name for himself as a fine perimeter defender — a type of player Los Angeles lacked on its roster.
However, certain stats suggest Bradley hasn’t performed well this season. The Texas alum owns the worst net rating on L.A.’s roster (-10.7), meaning the Lakers get outscored by nearly 11 points when the guard is on the floor.
In other words, the Lakers give up 109.3 points per 100 possessions in Bradley’s minutes but score only 98.6 themselves, both ratings being the fourth-worst among the Lakers.
But Vogel claims numbers don’t accurately reflect Bradley’s impact. “Effort and intensity is infectious,” the head coach said.
“He plays extremely hard and I know the numbers you’re talking about, we take them with a grain of salt. When a guy is bringing that type of intensity, it’s just an intangible thing that energizes the group, sets the tone for our defense. So there’s a lot of positives to what he brings to the table.”
Bradley averages 5.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game, shooting 38.1% from the field and 34.9% from beyond the arc in 22.2 minutes on the floor.
Lakers forward Trevor Ariza provides update on rehab
The Lakers’ starting lineup will likely change when Trevor Ariza makes his season debut. Ariza has been sidelined with an ankle injury since the preseason and L.A. still doesn’t have a deadline for his return.
The 36-year-old has recently explained where he is at in his rehab. “I’ve been as of late just starting to run on my own,” Ariza said.
“Been on the court shooting. Going through movements that I will probably have to get used to doing again. Conditioning, sprinting, lifting, shooting. A whole lot of that.”
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