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NBA Daily: Tony Bradley Shows Growth In Summer League

Good statlines in the Summer League are nothing new to Tony Bradley, but this particular showing has him believing he’s grown both as a player and as a leader, writes Matt John.

Matt John

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For Tony Bradley, playing for Utah’s summer league team is nothing new.

Ever since the Jazz acquired his draft rights back in 2017, Bradley has been a mainstay for the summer league roster. Over the three years he’s participated in the summer league, Bradley has been with a wide array of teammates. Donovan Mitchell, Dante Exum, Grayson Allen and Georges Niang were among the most notable ones.

Even while playing with some of the higher-profile players in Utah, Tony has found a way to stand out among his peers. His output during this past week’s summer league in Salt Lake City proved exactly that. In his two-game stint, Bradley dominated for the Jazz, averaging 20 points and 15.5 rebounds, both of which led the summer league, while shooting 60 percent from the field and averaging 2.5 blocks a game.

Following two consecutive brilliant performances in the summer league, Bradley was simple and direct when reflecting on his play.

“I’m feeling good. I’m feeling stronger and faster,” Bradley said. “I just wanted to play my hardest and trying to be in every play. I try to get the rebound both offensively and defensively.”

To be honest, Bradley is not a man of many words. During the summer league, he doesn’t have to be. He lets his play on the court do the talking, and he’s been doing plenty of talking during the summer league.

In previous summers, Bradley had been one of the summer league standouts both in Salt Lake and Las Vegas. Last summer, Bradley averaged 14.7 points, 12 rebounds and put up 2.4 blocks a game in the Jazz Summer League. Putting up a double-double in the summer league is a been there, done that for Bradley. Yet somehow, he feels that his physical improvements in the time between the last summer league and this one has made him a better player.

“I feel strong,” Bradley said. “I’ve lost some weight. I think I’m like 10 or 12 pounds lighter. I feel great. I feel like I can move quicker and faster… I have more energy, and that causes me to make more effort plays, rebound, run, etc… Making constant improvements to my body (is) the biggest thing to me.”

Because of his enhanced mobility, Bradley’s on-court production has looked as good as it’s ever been. While that is something he values, in this go-round, Tony also wanted to show that he can set an example for his younger teammates.

“I wanted to have double-double games, and I wanted to show leadership,” Bradley said.

His efforts as a leader have not gone unnoticed by his peers. Jazz assistant coach Lamar Skeeter praised Bradley for his leadership with his younger teammates.

“He’s a prideful kid,” Skeeter said. “He wants to play. He wants to win so our guys feed off of that. They see how hard he is playing. Whether if it’s him on defense and pick-and-roll, whether it’s him running in transition, whether if it’s him on the glass, it’s contagious. So, guys see him playing hard and competing, so it helps our other guys get to that level.”

Being a leader is not just about standing out among your peers. It’s also about striving to be better overall as a player. In Bradley’s case, he strives to improve himself in every way possible.

“I feel like I can improve with this team,” Bradley said. “I feel like I can take that next step into bettering myself and my game… Overall I feel a whole lot better. Just trying to make constant strides and improvements.”

The impressive results have kept on coming in Las Vegas. In the Jazz’s most recent exhibition against the Thunder, Bradley put up a solid 19/14 on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. Tony attributes the consistency he’s had in the summer league to the experience he’s had over the last three years.

“Experience definitely helps,” Bradley said. “Being here before and just knowing what to do. More reps. That definitely helps too.”

It’ll be a whole different ball game when this upcoming season arrives. Bradley will be the third center on the Jazz’s depth chart behind Rudy Gobert and Ed Davis, and he’s only played 65 combined minutes in the NBA. Expectations won’t be as high for him, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t try to continue to expand his game.

During his second game at the Jazz summer league, Bradley demonstrated that he wasn’t afraid to try new things. During the third quarter, he let one shot fly from distance. Even though Jazz fans collectively held their breath as the shot clanged off the rim, he had no regrets.

“I was confident in that shot,” Bradley said. “I’ve been working on threes all summer.”

If Bradley’s newfound enhanced mobility and potential floor-spacing abilities are fully realized, then he may not have to wait until Summer League again to show the NBA what he’s truly made out of.

And the Jazz may have found another piece to their championship dreams.

Matt John is a staff writer for Basketball Insiders. He is currently a Utah resident, but a Massachusetts native.

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Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders

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From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

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David Yapkowitz

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With the 17th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevski from Serbia. The Thunder completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the pick.

Pokusevski is a long term project, but one that has has an intriguing skillset. A 7-footer with good speed and quickness, Pokusevski plays like a wing and can pass like a guard. But, to truly thrive at the next level, Pokusevski will need to put on some serious weight.

Again, he’s a project. But Pokusevski’s ceiling is sky-high. And, with a rebuild ahead of them, the Thunder have more than enough time to work with him and ensure he reaches it.

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2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Steve Kyler

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What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:

 

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