After surrounding LeBron James with playmakers for the 2018-19 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers went out in free agency and signed two-way players who could stretch the floor.
However, one of the more intriguing additions is Avery Bradley. Bradley, who spent last season with the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies, is one of the more rugged defenders in the league and joined the Lakers on a two-year, $9.7 million deal.
Bradley believes his skillset will mesh well with James and Anthony Davis.
“I think it fits in well,” Bradley said. “I said this earlier on Media Day… I played with the Paul Pierces and KGs and I had to learn how to play off those guys early. My cutting ability, that’s one of my strengths and I feel like I can not only space the floor out for those guys but make cuts off those guys and make the game a lot easier for them.”
Most of the buzz around camp has been about Bradley’s tenaciousness on the floor and how good of shape he is in. He revealed that he had lost about 40 pounds since last season and attributed his solid play down the stretch to getting healthy again.
“No, so it wasn’t during the offseason. It was in the course of last year,” Bradley shared.
“Once I got to Memphis, I was in better shape. But because of the injury, I wasn’t able to be where I wanted to be and then mentally it screwed with me a little bit. But have to understand that it’s a process, especially coming off an injury. I had plenty of injuries and I started to catch my stride once I got to Memphis and hopefully, it’s able to carry over into this season.”
A former All-Defensive First Teamer, Bradley has struggled to stay on the court in recent seasons with various ailments. However, it appears he is 100% healthy heading into the 2019-20 season and could be the x-factor for Los Angeles.
Head coach Frank Vogel has admitted the starting lineup has yet to be decided and Bradley figures to be in the mix with the other guards on the roster. His improved shooting toward the end of last season mixed with his defensive prowess gives him a good case to start alongside James and Davis.
Hopefully, Bradley’s successful run with the Grizzlies continues with the Lakers as they could definitely use someone with his particular style of play.