Avery Bradley's defense is garnering attention and praise around the NBA
Avery Bradley has always been one of the league's better on-ball defenders, even getting All-Defense honors a couple years ago by being named to the second team. However, as of late, guys like Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry, and CJ McCollum have been raving about Bradley's impeccable defense. This past Thursday night after a win against Portland, both CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard talked about how impressive Bradley is. Via PJ Wright of Boston.com:
“I told him he was the best perimeter defender in the league,” Lillard told reporters via MassLive following Thursday’s game. “Because he is.”
Lillard scored 14 points on just 3-for-16 shooting Thursday night.
Bradley’s defense has been so stellar in the mind of McCollum (20.7 ppg) that the third-year sharpshooter is relieved the Blazers guards won’t have to match up against any perimeter enforcer of his stature in their own conference.
“I don’t think there are any teams that we are going to play that are as active defensively as the Boston Celtics, we are not going to play anyone like that in the West,” McCollum said via OregonLive. “We are not going to see any Avery Bradley’s in the Western Conference.”
After the Celtics win Friday night against the Warriors, McCollum tweeted out his praise for Bradley yet again:
Avery Bradley the best perimeter defender in the league and I don't think it's close. Him and chief #firstteamalldefense— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) April 2, 2016
Steve Kerr, head coach of the Warriors had some great praise for both AB and Marcus Smart on defense:
Steve Kerr: "I think Avery Bradley's as good an on-ball defender as their is in the league and Marcus Smart's right there with him."— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) April 2, 2016
It's also apparent that all of AB's Celtic teammates are clamoring for him to be named to the NBA All-Defensive 1st Team when the season comes to an end:
Celtics calling for Avery Bradley to be 1st team all defense as music blares. Sullinger: "all you voters out there...first team!"— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) April 2, 2016
Bradley has been putting on a clinic for how to play defense lately and everyone around the NBA is starting to take notice once again. After a couple years of focusing more on his offense, Bradley has returned to form as being one of the best defenders in the NBA. His suffocating style of play never letting the ball handler get by him is what helps him to force his opponent to make mistakes. You could see during Thursday's game against Portland and last game vs Golden State that he forced his man to catch the ball outside their comfort zones. This led to many forced turnovers including 22 of them for Golden State.
As the season is coming to an end, it's becoming more clear by the day that Avery Bradley will be named as one of the top defensive players in the league by having his name on the All-Defensive Team. Now as for whether it will be on the first or second team we will have to wait and see, but based on the talk around the NBA, one should expect that AB's name will be on the first team at the end of the year.
Image Credit: Winslow Townson/AP
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