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The Sports Daily > Red's Army
A closer look at Avery Bradley’s defense, and how it compares to Rondo

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Avery Bradley might as well be two different players.  As a point guard in the half court offense, he's… well… he's not good.  Not yet anyway.  And maybe that takes time.  Right now it's so bad, though, that you almost either have to start him so he can get a ton of help from the starters, or sit him because the bench can't bail him out on offense.

But on the other end of the court, Bradley is a menace. Going one-on-one with Bradley has generally been a losing proposition.  Here is a closer look at just how good Bradley has been on D (according to Synergy Sports).

  • Overall: Synergy has Bradley down for 85 defensive possessions.  Opponents are shooting 38.5% (13.3% from 3) in those possessions, turning the ball over 10.6% of the time.  He's holding opponents to .76 PPP (points per possession).  
  • He is by far most effective in isolation situations.  In 14 isolation situations, opponents are shooting 3-11 with 3 turnovers. 
  • The situation he has faced the most is defending the ballhandler in a pick-and-roll.  In 39 such situations, He is holding opponents to .85 PPP on 38.7% shooting and a 10.3% turnover rate. 

Just for fun, I compared him to Rajon Rondo… because I already know how people are going to look at Bradley's D and think something silly about him and Rondo.  The fact is, Rondo still is better:  

  • Overall Rondo is forcing opponents to a lower PPP (.68), a lower shooting percentage (33.9%) and a higher turnover rate (12.9%).  
  • Bradley is slightly better in isolations.  Bradley's opponents are shooting 27.3% while Rondo's are shooting 33%.  Bradley forces a higher turnover rate (21.4% vs 13.3%) but he's also only faced half as many isolation situations as Rondo. 
  • Defending the ballhandler in a pick and roll, Rondo forces an ever so slightly lower PPP (.84), which he does by forcing more turnovers (16.4%).  Opponents are shooting better (45.3%) though, in those situations.

According to Synergy, Bradley's overall defensive numbers rank him 83rd in the league.  Pretty good for a guy coming off the bench and forced into a couple of spot starts.  But Rondo is ranked 36th overall.  

I'm not trying to start anything here between these guys.  What I am doing is showing people that (a) Bradley has been damn good defensively and (b) as good as he is, Rajon Rondo is generally better, and better by a noticeable margin… despite our complaints about him gambling too much.

I'll tell you what, though… a backcourt of Bradley and Rondo would probably terrorize opponents.  They could have a contest to see who can force more 8 second violations.  That's why I say you start Bradley tonight in Ray Allen's place and see if the D can force a huge run to start the game.  If it kills the offense, then you sub in a shooter and forget it.  But those two guys working in unison has the potential to be like lions coordinating on a kill.