No. 6: Avery Bradley
One of the most famous training camp battles in recent memory took place prior to the 2021-22 NBA season, when the Golden State Warriors were looking to fill their final roster spot heading into the season. The final two contenders? Longtime NBA veteran guard Avery Bradley and fringe player Gary Payton II.
Bradley looked to have a clear advantage. He had 11 seasons under his belt, including seven seasons with the Boston Celtics where he largely started in the backcourt. He was a good offensive player with a solid jumpshot, but Bradley buttered his bread on defense. He was one of the league’s premier one-on-one guard defenders, hounding opponents the length of the court.
Payton, on the other hand, had a famous last name but no true NBA credentials to speak of. With Bradley getting verbal support from the Warriors’ veterans like Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, the decision seemed obvious.
Until, of course, Bob Myers and Steve Kerr made the call to cut Bradley and sign Payton. “GP2” would go on to play a critical role in their championship, while Bradley would have a largely unforgettable season with the Los Angeles Lakers, his last in the league.