As usual, Dennis Lindsay was an active man on Draft Day. After trading up to get Donovan Mitchel, the Utah Jazz weren’t done moving up to get the man they wanted. Tony Bradley out of UNC was tied to the Jazz throughout the workout process, and sure enough they are bringing him to Salt Lake City.
I asked Tanya Bondurant over at Tar Heel Blog a few questions so we can get to know Tony a little better.
Why should Jazz fans be excited about this pick?
“Tony Bradley was excellent for the Tar Heels off the bench before being slightly derailed by a concussion. He was still highly effective in the post as a strong rebounding force down low. I thought he would be one of the best players in college had he stuck around at Carolina, and I’m sure he’ll be able to continue that growth at the next level. He’s a fun, exciting player to have on your team.”
What type of player do you see Tony Bradley becoming?
“I don’t know that Tony Bradley is going to be as much of a stretch 4 as he thinks he can be in the NBA, but I have no doubt that he can be more versatile than a traditional big man. He runs the floor extremely well and his mid-range game did improve down the stretch his freshman year. He’ll need to continue to hone that if he has any hope of being the stretch 4 he thinks he can be and it isn’t there yet. Still, there is promise in his game. As for his player comp, I’d say someone like Dakari Johnson.”
When did you know this kid would be good? What was his signature moment/game?
“It was obvious early on that Bradley was a special talent. I thought that talent would really flourish in his sophomore season with more playing time, but he was definitely able to showcase his talent in limited time. I think his signature moment in my mind came during Carolina’s non-conference slate when he sealed a comeback win for UNC at the Dean Dome with a huge block in the final seconds against Tennessee. It was a huge moment for a freshman so early in the season.”
What are his biggest strengths? What does he need to develop the most?
“Rebounding ability is undoubtedly Bradley’s biggest strength. He can also get down the floor in transition with the best of them despite his size. Bradley really needs to work on improving his overall athleticism and jump shot at the next level. I think he can be a great player if he does that, and it seems like he has the ability to make that happen.”
How do you think he will fit on the Jazz?
“I think Bradley can be a solid role player for the Jazz with the potential to be surprisingly better than that if everything breaks his way. He isn’t a finished product by any means, and if he can elevate the parts of his game that need improvement with the proper amount of coaching then I think you could have a pretty special player.”
Utah thought enough of Bradley that they gave up the #30 and #42 picks in the draft to move up just 2 spots to make sure they got him. With Trey Lyles being traded and Jeff Withey unlikely to come back, the Jazz needed some front court depth for next season. Bradley could be a really nice steal at the end of the 1st round and turn into a solid backup for Rudy Gobert if things go right. Let’s all get oit to the Summer League and support our new guys!