In a golden age of scoring point guards in the NBA, few can attest to the difficulties of playing defense on the perimeter these days than Avery Bradley, who was recently traded from the Boston Celtics to the Detroit Pistons. Though technically a shooting guard, he was often tasked with checking the opposing team's point guard. He is a much better defensive player than his former backcourt partner Isaiah Thomas and therefore would be given the toughest assignment.
On any given night that could mean Stephen Curry, John Wall, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul or James Harden. But if you ask Bradley, none of those guys top his list of the toughest players to guard. His choice, as he revelaed in a Twitter Q&A through the Pistons' official account, was "not even close."
Kyrie. Not even close. - AB https://t.co/8cEKwtSu6O— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) July 13, 2017
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Irving, to be fair, should be close to the top of anyone's list. But is he really that much tougher to guard than Curry or Westbrook? As good as Irving is at ballhandling and shooting, isn't Curry even better at his own game? And for guys like Westbrook, Wall and Harden, the pure athleticism would seem to be extremely difficult to deal with. Westbrook, for instance, is bigger, stronger and faster than everyone who guards him and his energy is unmatched.
Irving, 25, has certainly emerged as one of the NBA's best scorers. He's lightning quick and can hit shots from the most absurd of angles. Also, he is on one of the best teams in basketball, a Cavs team that can trot out lineups entirely composed with three-point shooters. That means space for him to go to work and he is very good with space.
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