Former North Carolina center Tony Bradley has had an unusual start to his NBA career. As a first round draft pick, Bradley looked to be in a position to make an immediate impact for the Utah Jazz. However, last Friday he was assigned to the team’s G League affiliate the Salt Lake City Stars after failing to log a single minute through the first five games of the season. Four days later on Tuesday, Bradley was called back up to the Jazz.
Bradley averaged 7.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game for North Carolina en route to Roy Williams’ third national championship in Chapel Hill. While not a starter, Bradley played an integral role off the bench, allowing the Tar Heels to not miss a beat when their veteran frontcourt of Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks needed rest.
He performed well during the NBA Summer League, averaging 10.6 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting just over 52% from the field. Bradley was able to make a slight impact in the preseason, averaging four points and 1.5 rebounds in 9.8 minutes a contest. He really impressed in the team’s final preseason matchup with the Suns, wherein Bradley recorded 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting to go along with two rebounds.
It’s unclear right now how exactly the Jazz plan to use him. Bradley is an immense talent with great size, but he is still very raw. Led by Rudy Gobert, the Jazz have a solid amount of frontcourt depth, but that doesn’t mean Bradley can’t offer some valuable minutes off the bench. Still, injuries are likely the only way for him to have any sort of role in his first season.
Bradley will remain on the roster for now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up back in the G League at some point. His rookie season will be more about developing and getting acquainted with professional-level basketball, anyways.
Bradley’s first game back was last night, as the Jazz hosted the Portland Trail Blazers. Once again, he did not see any game action in what was a 112-103 victory for the Jazz. However, assuming that the Jazz called him up for a reason, we could see that change in the near future.
The Utah Jazz are now 5-3 on the season and their next game will be on Friday against the Toronto Raptors.