Bradley Elaborates on His DPOY Comments

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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ROXBURY, Mass. – Avery Bradley made waves earlier this week by boldly throwing his name into the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.

And he’s not backing away from his comments.

“That’s my goal: to be Defensive Player of the Year,” he told reporters Monday afternoon at a local community event in Belmont, Mass. “I feel like it’s possible for me if I go out there with the right mindset.”

Wednesday afternoon, amidst his third community event in as many days, Bradley privately told Celtics.com why he has gone public with such a statement.

“I’m saying it now because I feel like when people say it, people start talking about it more,” he said.

“I’m not really vocal with it, saying, ‘Everybody go out and vote for me!’ You know what I mean?” he added. “I feel like my game should speak for itself.”

Bradley, oftentimes reserved with his words, was as brash as ever while elaborating on why his game should speak for itself.

“I feel like I should be in the conversation for [Defensive Player of the Year], because even though I might not get steals and whatnot and the numbers might not look a certain way, I know that when I’m going up against somebody, nobody else is playing defense against them like that,” he stated matter-of-factly. “I know that.”

Also working in Bradley’s favor is the belief that he will be a key cog on one of the NBA’s top defensive teams, and potentially one of the top teams overall.

Boston ranked fifth in the NBA during the 2015-16 season with a defensive rating of 104.43. The expectation is that, with another year of having its core together, with another year of growth from Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk, and with the additions of Al Horford and Jaylen Brown, Boston will only improve in that area.

“I think we can be pretty good,” Bradley said of Boston’s defense. “We have another veteran leader (Horford) that is going to be talking behind us, and hopefully we can bring all of that together and be a great defensive team.”

Bradley admits that his team must perform at a high level in order for him to truly be considered as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.

“I think you have to be on a good defensive team, but you also have to be on a good team period,” he said.

Fortunately for Bradley, the Celtics are expected to compete for the Eastern Conference crown, thanks in large part to his defensive abilities, which he believes should be regarded as tops in the NBA.