2019-20 Lakers Season Preview: Avery Bradley

2018-19 NBA Season Review

Last year was a tale of two seasons for Avery Bradley. To begin the 2018-19 NBA season, he looked like a shell of his former self and was borderline unplayable for the Los Angeles Clippers. He averaged just 8.2 points (33.7% shooting from the three-point line) in 49 games.

However, after being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, Bradley looked the best he has looked since he was with the Boston Celtics. The 28-year-old averaged 16.1 points (46.3% shooting from the field and 38.4% shooting from the three-point line), 3.1 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in 14 games.

Bradley may have just played in 14 games with the Grizzlies, but he looked every part of the high-caliber role player that he has been throughout his career before injuries began to take their toll. He scored in double-figures in 10 of those games including four 20-point outings and a career-high 33-point night in his second game with the Grizzlies.

More importantly, the ‘Grit and Grind’ foundation of the Grizzlies seemed to reinvigorate his defense, looking more like the 2016 NBA All-Defensive First Team selection.

After being bought out by the Grizzlies, Bradley agreed to a two-year, $9.7 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.

2019-20 NBA Season Outlook

The obvious question coming into the 2019-20 season for Bradley is which version of him the Lakers are getting. Is it the one who was not even playable on the Clippers or the one who seemed to turn back the clock with the Grizzlies? Clearly the Lakers believe it is the latter and if they are correct, they have themselves a player who will make a major impact — likely off the bench for them.

Bradley will likely be in competition with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for the backup shooting guard minutes behind Danny Green. The two players provide a similar skillset, so whoever proves themselves to be the better option will take the lion share of the minutes while the other could find themselves on the fringe of the rotation.

The key for Bradley (and Caldwell-Pope for that matter) will be consistency. Whichever of the two shows themselves to be able to consistently knock down open three-pointers and contain the opposition’s best guard will see the floor more.

However, Bradley does also have a slight advantage over Caldwell-Pope in the ballhandling and playmaking department and is capable of operating as a nominal point guard in short spurts. With LeBron James on the floor operating as the primary playmaker, it would not be too much of a stretch to picture Bradley guarding the other team’s point guard while operating at shooting guard.

Much like Caldwell-Pope, Bradley has the opportunity to play a big role and his playoff experience could go a long way in him carving out a spot in the rotation. But Bradley is in direct competition with someone else who provides an identical skillset which could make it hard for him to get regular minutes if his Grizzlies stint turns out to be a fluke.