Off to a blistering 9-2 start on the season, Avery Bradley was a big reason for the Lakers’ early success. Able to function as an off-ball point guard, Bradley’s presence gave the Lakers a defensive stopper at the point of attack who is willingly able to defer his traditional offensive responsibilities to LeBron James. Unfortunately, the Lakers announced today that Bradley had suffered an injury and needs to miss some time.
Bradley has looked to be the perfect fit alongside James so far and has the results to back things up. Along with the 9-2 start, James and Bradley own a +16 net rating when sharing the court together as well as an astounding 97.1 defensive rating. A large part in the Lakers’ defensive turnaround this season, the Lakers need Bradley back healthy and in the lineup in order to be at their best.
Avery Bradley Injury Update: Lakers Guard’s Timeline Revealed
Though it seems Bradley avoided missing major time with a hairline fracture in his leg, he isn’t set to return in 1-2 weeks, only re-evaluated. This could mean a wide variety of things and given the nature of hairline fractures, there isn’t the same set 4-6 week time period you see with a clean break or fracture. Should things heal up nicely, there is a chance Bradley could be back in the lineup at some point before the new year. However, there seems to be just as strong of a chance that the injury winds up taking some time to heal.
Lakers Lineup Replacements for Avery Bradley
The Lakers need Bradley back in the lineup for the longterm given his stellar defensive play so far. That said, they do have some very solid options capable of holding things over until Bradley is cleared to play.
Rajon Rondo seems to be an obvious choice, though he is still working his way back into season-shape. With only one game under his belt so far and still on a minutes restriction, starting him doesn’t seem all that likely. He should be expected to see some minutes with the starting unit and likely will take on more of a role with them as he plays himself back into shape. Even when Rondo gets back to full health, the Lakers seem to need him most off the bench. They’ve mostly lacked any sort of playmaking threat off the bench and Rondo’s performance against the Suns while James sat was exactly what this team needs moving forward.
Alex Caruso seems likely to get a major increase in responsibility with Bradley out. Caruso has been one of the standout defensive performers so far and has the perfect skill set to slide into the role that Bradley had carved out for himself. Caruso has steadily played his way into more minutes and a bigger role over the course of the season and has another big opportunity to keep his ascent on track. Though Cook and Daniels are also in the mix, expect Caruso to get the bulk of the opportunities early on.