Avery Bradley was named to the All-Defensive First Team last season and finished sixth in Defensive Player of the Year voting (first among guards). So it shouldn’t be too much of a shock that his stated goal is to win DPOY.
“Yeah I mean of course, that’s my goal to be defensive player of the year,” Bradley said. “I feel like it’s possible for me if I go out there with the right mindset. The only thing I wanted to change in the past was being a little bit more disciplined on the defensive end. Last year I was definitely disciplined. I didn’t reach as much; I was trying to be solid to help our team. But this year is going to be a mix of both because I feel like I’m capable of being even better because I got a chance to learn from my mistakes in the past and now I know exactly what I need to do.”
Of course it won’t be easy to snag the honor, which is normally dominated by bigs.
Still, Defensive Player of the Year is a tall task for Bradley. It has been 20 years since a guard won Defensive Player of the Year (Gary Payton in 1996). In the 2016 vote for the award, Bradley finished a distant sixth overall while Leonard and Green dominated the voting totals.
So what do you think? Can Bradley get enough positive attention in the media for his impact on defense? Or will the collective efforts of his teammates (including noted defenders Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, and Al Horford) create enough noise to drown out his accomplishments?