NBC Sports

Bradley signing spices up Warriors' training camp competition

NBC Sports
Avery Bradley

The signing of veteran guard Avery Bradley on Friday fills two of coach Steve Kerr’s fondest low-profile wishes of this Warriors offseason.

One, a reserve guard with the defensive chops to effectively badger opposing point guards while also being able to run the offense.

Two, high-energy competition for that role.

Bradley, whose signing was first reported by The Athletic and confirmed by NBC Sports Bay Area, brings a suitable resumé. He’ll arrive at training camp next week to compete with Gary Payton II for the 15th and final roster spot, should the Warriors opt to fill it at the start of the season.

Consider this, if you will, a serious attempt by the Warriors to avoid a repeat of the Brad Wanamaker disaster last season.

Bradley, 30, gives the Warriors three players that can line up and compete for the role. The ranking as they open camp looks to be Payton, Bradley and then Mychal Mulder. All three are more combo guards than traditional point guards.

Why does Payton, 28, have the edge? After signing with the Warriors late last season, playing 10 games as a backup and also being on the Summer League roster, he knows the roster and has a grasp of the demands. His positive spirit, elite athleticism and piranha-like approach to defense have made him popular with players and coaches.

At 6-foot-2, with a 6-foot-7 wingspan, GP II has played only 71 NBA games but is one of those rare players capable of flipping a game with a burst of on-ball defense.

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Bradley, however, has a vastly deeper NBA resumé. He has played 598 regular-season games, and another 39 in the postseason. Though he has become a respectable shooter, it’s his defense that appeals to the Warriors. He has been voted to two All-Defensive teams, most recently in 2016.

The biggest concern with Bradley might be his durability. Bothered mostly by lower-body injuries (ankle, calf, knee), he has played with seven different teams but missed more than 20 games in all but one season since 2015-16.

Though Mulder remains a possibility, his chance of sticking takes a hit with the Bradley signing. Mulder is the best shooter of the three, but Golden State will prioritize defense. His work on that end falls short of what Bradley or Payton can offer.

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