Written by Jared Rosenthal
(Photo by Silver Screen and Roll)
As of late, Avery Bradley of the Los Angeles Lakers has declared that he will not rejoin the team to finish out the 2019-2020 NBA season in Orlando. Presumably, GM Rob Pelinka will need to strategically act upon Bradley’s absence as the Lakers pursue their 17th championship in franchise history.
(Photo by Amazon)
According to Woj, the primary reason behind Bradley’s decision to stay back pertains to the health risks that he believes he would be posing for his family by playing. From a familiar standpoint, Bradley has three kids, one of which has a compromised immune system (respiratory related), making a transmitted illness much more life threatening. Additionally, the heavily speculated and logical secondary reason for this decision deals with the social injustice that has caused much tension and divide among many citizens in our country. Bradley has been open about his beliefs on this matter and has seemingly taken charge in the realm of athletes speaking out on social issues, therefore this factor is definitely something that should not go unnoticed while trying to comprehend where Avery is coming from.
Though I hold a neutral position on Bradley’s decision, I do not hold a neutral view about the player that should fill this vacant guard position: nobody new. Though J.R. Smith is being strongly considered, I believe that his presence is not as valuable as most perceive. We aren’t talking about prime J.R. when he was draining shot after shot in the Big Apple! We’re talking about a practically washed up, 34 year-old man, who nowadays is at best a C+ player on a respectable day! Sure, it would be generous to allow J.R. a chance to redeem himself from one of the biggest mistakes ever made in sports history, but he is not a necessity by any means. The Lakers should not act out of desperation, but rather consider the weapons they can utilize and elevate with the roster that stands.
(Photo courtesy of ClutchPoints)
I believe that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is more than capable of filling this gap. If you can recall, back in November--when Bradley got injured--(which lasted until the start of December) KCP and the Lakers won 12 of the 13 games during this stretch by beating teams including the Nuggets, Jazz, and Mavericks (all with the opposing teams’ star players playing and healthy if you were wondering). To further emphasize the undervaluing of Caldwell-Pope, he shot over 50% from the field and over 40% from 3-point range during the absence of Bradley in the starting five AND in KCP’s 19 starts this season, the Lakers only lost three of those games! Evidently, Danny Green and Alex Caruso received more minutes and this formula was a hit.
If you desperately want someone else besides KCP, then Dion Waiters should suffice. Right before the NBA went into its hiatus, Los Angeles signed Waiters to enlarge its offensive potential. Waiters has been in the league since 2012 and has started in over half of the games he’s played in; before arriving in Los Angeles he played in Miami for four years averaging 13.9 points, 3.6 assists, and 2.9 rebounds each game. Also, he has played in close to 20 playoff games! If you’re seriously concerned about Waiters’ level of comprehension when the stakes rise...calm down. Not having Avery Bradley may seem like a negative, but this very easily could be a blessing in disguise.
(Photo courtesy of Yahoo! Sports)