Going into the 2019-20 NBA season, Avery Bradley switched teams for the fourth time in two years. Signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bradley penned a two-year deal that was set to pay him $4.7 million throughout the 2019-20 campaign.
Known mainly for his time in Boston, Bradley was highly regarded as the ultimate “3-and-D” player in his early years. His aggressive defensive tenacity was known league-wide, along with his reliable three-point shooting. In the 2011-12, 2013-14, and 2016-17 seasons, Bradley shot at a 40.7%, 39.5%, and a 39% rate from beyond on the arc, respectively.
He appeared in 39 postseason contests in Boston, including a playoff run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017. Where he averaged 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. On 44.1% shooting from the field, 35.1% from three.
Boston struggles and multiple trades:
However, Bradley suffered from multiple injuries whilst with the Celtics and through seven seasons only played in 70+ games on two occasions in the regular season, and never completed a full season. To create cap space to sign Gordon Hayward, the Celtics traded Bradley to the Detroit Pistons in July 2017.
Even though he put up good numbers in Detroit (15 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.2 steals), he was missing time again. On this occasion with a hip-groin injury. In January 2018, he was on the road again. This time to the Los Angeles Clippers, via trade.
Bradley spent one-and-a-half seasons with the Clippers, where his numbers plummeted and the injuries continued. Consequently, in February 2019, he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. This is where he got his career back on track. Through 14 late-season games, Bradley averaged 16.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2 assists. On 46.3% field-goal shooting and 38.4% from range.
Then the following summer, in a salary dump move, the Grizzlies waived Bradley. Which allowed him to return to Los Angeles, this time with the Lakers. To join a newly constructed super-team, featuring LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Return to form:
Even though he’s missed 14 games due to injury at the time of the Coronavirus suspension, Avery Bradley has returned to his old self, it appears. His points average has dropped to the fourth lowest in his career, but that isn’t fully representative of his season. He’s shooting at a reliable 44% rate from the field, and 36.4% from three. With limited looks as well, due to the superstar prowess on the roster.
In addition, throughout the second half of the season, he has excelled. Through 11 contests in February, Bradley converted at an impressive 48.2% clip from three-point land. Even though those numbers dipped in March, he still maintained a solid 37% conversion rate. Although, the most eye-catching statistic from the month of March, his plus/minus. Which was 13.6.
This represents the return of that aggressive, suffocating defense that Bradley built a reputation on in his early career. His harassing ways have returned on that side of the ball, and that has been represented in his 3.7 plus/minus on the season. Which is actually the highest in his career, by far, and is the fifth-highest on the Lakers.
His ability to be adaptable is valued on his current roster also. Primarily listed as a shooting guard, Bradley shifts between the two and three positions on the offensive end. Defensively, he commonly slides to mark opposing point guards. Doing the dirty, high-energy work, so LeBron James, who plays the one offensively, can sit back.
One sequence which highlights Bradley’s season with the purple and gold so far was against his former team, the Clippers, on March 8. His persistent hassling resulted in a steal which led to a strongly contested lay-up on the opposite end. Defense to offense. But his taunt to fellow NBA aggressor Patrick Beverley told the full story.
The full story of the return of the fire within Avery Bradley. On both ends of the ball. He may not be back to his prime-Celtics days but he’s certainly proving to be the ultimate complimentary piece on a contending super-team. Not many people were expecting that when he signed with the Lakers in the summer.