Warriors' Avery Bradley: 'I Think I Might Be the Best on-Ball Defender in the NBA'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 28, 2021

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 27: Avery Bradley #9 of the Houston Rockets handles the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves on April 27 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Robert Seale/NBAE via Getty Images)
Robert Seale/NBAE via Getty Images

Never let it be said that Avery Bradley is lacking for confidence.

"I think I might be the best on-ball defender in the NBA," the Golden State Warriors guard told reporters Tuesday at media day.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr categorized Bradley as one of the game's best on-ball defenders earlier in the day at his press conference. Bradley signed a one-year contract with Golden State last week after working out among a group of veteran guards.

So, anyway.

Let's unpack what Bradley said.

While Bradley has twice been named to an All-Defensive team, he has not done so since 2015-16—five years ago. Opposing players shot 48.4 percent when Bradley was their primary defender last season, 2.1 percent higher than their rate when defended by other players.

The Rockets also declined a $5.9 million option on Bradley for this season, and he languished on the market until almost the start of training camp—not exactly what you'd expect from the NBA's best one-on-one defender. 

Is it possible Bradley could revive his career in Golden State and reemerge as an on-ball menace? Sure. He doesn't turn 31 until November. He's still at or near his prime physically.

That said, supplanting the likes of Jrue Holiday and Marcus Smart for that title feels like a stretch.