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Avery Bradley says Kyrie Irving is toughest to guard in NBA, not Stephen Curry, John Wall or Russell Westbrook

Avery Bradley says Kyrie Irving is toughest to guard in NBA, not Stephen Curry, John Wall or Russell Westbrook

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."

[RELATED: What we learned from Wizards' Summer League]

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.

[RELATED: 5 things to know about new Wizards forward Devin Robinson]

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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Mike Scott can add toughness to Wizards' bench

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Mike Scott can add toughness to Wizards' bench

As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Mike Scott's season...

Player: Mike Scott

Position: Power forward

Age: 29

2016-17 stats: 18 G, 10.8 mpg, 2.5 ppg, 0.9 apg, 2.1 rpg, 0.2 spg, 0.2 bpg, 28.8 FG%,14.8 3P%, 87.5 FT%, 32.2 eFG%, 85 ORtg, 108 DRtg

2017-18 storyline: Much like Jodie Meeks, Scott represents a low-risk, potentially high-reward option for the Wizards bench as a guy who was once a very good player before his career veered off track due to injuries. Scott's problems in 2016-17 dealt with his left knee. He didn't make his season debut until Nov. 30 and played just eight games before Jan. 16. By then the Hawks were in midseason form and Scott never gained his footing. They traded him to the Suns in Feb. and he was later cut from the team.

Scott joined the Wizards on a one-year deal this summer hoping to hit the restart button with what is technically his local team. Scott grew up in Chesapeake, Va. and went to the University of Virginia where he starred under head coach Tony Bennett. Scott remains a big Redskins fan.

[RELATED: HOW THE NBA CAN PREVENT TANKING]

Scott has the potential to be a key rotation piece for the Wizards, if he can reclaim his form from a few years ago. At his peak in Atlanta, Scott was a hard-nosed defender who could score sparingly but with efficiency. He has even proven able to stretch the floor with a solid three-point percentage. He shot 39.2 percent from three on 2.1 attempts per game in 2015-16.

Scott is slated to be a backup behind Markieff Morris and Otto Porter and will compete for minutes with Kelly Oubre, Jr. and Jason Smith. The Wizards would love to see him add toughness and defensive awareness to their second unit, much like Morris does for the starting lineup. If he can stay healthy and provide those things, Scott will turn from a reclamation project into a diamond in the rough.

Potential to improve: Availability, rebounding, versatility.

MORE WIZARDS' ROSTER PREVIEWS:

Can John Wall take another step after earning All-NBA?

Is this the year Bradley Beal becomes an All-Star?

What is the next step in Otto Porter's development?

Markieff Morris can be an X-factor this season

Will Marcin Gortat's role change or be the same this year?

Will Kelly Oubre, Jr. make a big leap this season?

Can Ian Mahinmi make a bigger impact in his second season?

Will Tim Frazier be the solution at backup point guard?

Jodie Meeks could make big impact off bench

[RELATED: WHO WILL BE MOST-IMPROVED ON THE WIZARDS THIS YEAR?]

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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Jodie Meeks could make major difference on bench

Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Jodie Meeks could make major difference on bench

As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Jodie Meeks' season...

Player: Jodie Meeks

Position: Shooting guard

Age: 30

2016-17 stats: 36 G, 20.5 mpg, 9.1 ppg, 1.3 apg, 2.1 rpg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg, 40.2 FG%, 40.9 3P%, 87.8 FT%, 51.2 eFG%, 107 ORtg, 111 DRtg

2017-18 storyline: The Wizards' problems at backup shooting guard weren't quite as pronounced as their backup point guard situation in 2016-17 because they weren't forced to bring in someone off the free agent wire. But they certainly could have used some better production behind Bradley Beal, as head coach Scott Brooks was often forced to spell Beal with creative lineups featuring no natural shooting guards.

In Meeks, the Wizards hope to have a stable presence at the position, someone who can provide a scoring punch off the bench and allow Brooks to mix-and-match his guards. Meeks, in theory, could run with backup point guard Tim Frazier, starting point guard John Wall, Tomas Satoransky or even Beal, who has made strides in his ball-handling skills enough to play sparingly at point guard.

[RELATED: HOW THE NBA CAN PREVENT TANKING]

In order for Meeks to fill the role the Wizards expect of him, he will need to first prove he can overcome the injuries that have plagued him the past three seasons. Meeks appeared in just 39 total games the past two years and an average of 33 games in the last three. The Wizards need him to play much more than that, obviously. But in signing Meeks, they hope to get high reward out of a low-risk contract.

Meeks' primary value if healthy will be as a three-point threat in the second unit. Offense is his calling card and in recent years he's shown the ability to hit threes efficiently and at high volume. In 36 games with the Magic last year, he hit 40.9 percent on 3.8 attempts per game. In his last full season that wasn't affected by injuries, 2013-14 when he was with the Lakers, Meeks shot 40.1 percent from long range on 5.2 attempts per game. Now he's playing for a good team with two good passing point guards to set him up. 

Potential to improve: Availablity, on-ball defense, field-goal percentage.

MORE WIZARDS' ROSTER PREVIEWS:

Can John Wall take another step after earning All-NBA?

Is this the year Bradley Beal becomes an All-Star?

What is the next step in Otto Porter's development?

Markieff Morris can be an X-factor this season

Will Marcin Gortat's role change or be the same this year?

Will Kelly Oubre, Jr. make a big leap this season?

Can Ian Mahinmi make a bigger impact in his second season?

Will Tim Frazier be the solution at backup point guard?

[RELATED: WHO WILL BE MOST-IMPROVED ON THE WIZARDS THIS YEAR?]

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE WIZARDS STORIES