Avery Bradley claims that Kyrie Irving is the hardest player to check in today’s NBA.
The Cleveland Cavaliers may have come up short in the 2017 NBA Finals this year, but they aren’t going anywhere. That is because of all the young talent they still possess. Kyrie Irving sometimes doesn’t get his due credit thanks to the presence of supernova LeBron James, but Detroit Pistons guard Avery Bradley gave out some props recently. He took over the Pistons Twitter account to answer some questions, and he got asked by a fan who was the toughest player to guard in the NBA.
Not even close. Wow. Bradley mainly defends other guards, and so it’s not surprising that he picked Irving. However, the fact that he added “not even close” was somewhat shocking.
Bradley got traded to Detroit from the Boston Celtics after it became clear that Gordon Hayward wanted to sign in free agency. Irving burned the Celtics for 42 points in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and that is probably the main reason Bradley chose Kyrie as the hardest cover.
Irving posted 25.2 points and 5.8 assists per contest last season, and he shot 47.3% from the field. He also routinely took over games in the fourth quarter despite LeBron usually being on the floor, and Irving’s role should only increase as the other stars on the team exit their prime.
Bradley was picked in the 2010 NBA Draft, and he averaged 12.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.08 steals and 28.1 minutes per game during his time in Boston. He is an elite defender on the wing, and he’ll make the Pistons an incredibly hard team to score on. The Celtics will post more points next year, but it will be difficult to muster the defensive stops needed to beat Cleveland in the playoffs.
Bradley wants to win Defensive Player of the Year next season, and Kyrie might just desire another championship. It’s unclear if either is likely to happen. But there is no doubt that they are both phenomenal athletes, and sometimes game just recognizes game.