Jazz center Tony Bradley may have saved his NBA career with his Summer League performance, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. It’s unusual for a first-round pick to still be playing Summer League games going into his third season, but Bradley has done little to establish himself as an NBA player so far. After being taken with the 28th pick in 2017, he has appeared in just 12 games, with only three of those coming last season.
Bradley said he was aware of the stakes heading into Las Vegas, and he responded by leading the league in rebounding with 11.3 per game. He also averaged 19.7 PPG and shot 56% from the field. He appears to have won a roster spot and is expected to be third on the depth chart at center behind Rudy Gobert and Ed Davis.
“It was important for me,” Bradley said of the experience. “I knew that I had to go out there and play well.”
There’s more from Utah, all courtesy of Jones:
- Versatility was the key to Miye Oni earning a fully guaranteed contract as a rookie. The Jazz consider him to be the best defender among their three draft picks, and his ability to play several positions gives him another advantage. However, rookie power forward Jarrell Brantley will probably need more time to develop. Jones states that he took bad shots and made bad decisions during Summer League and has a lot to learn before he’s ready for the NBA.
- The Jazz want two-way player Justin Wright-Foreman to develop into a point guard. He was a high-scoring combo guard at Hofstra, but he will be asked to focus on one position during his time in the G League. He also needs to show some improvement on defense, but Jones adds that he has the talent to improve in that area.
- The organization has two years to experiment with the roster before it becomes financially restrictive. Gobert and Donovan Mitchell will both be eligible for new contracts in the summer of 2021, and decisions will have to be made on Mike Conley, Dante Exum and Joe Ingles as well. That’s why they used three second-round picks this summer and gambled on William Howard and Stanton Kidd, hoping to find some future contributors while they still have flexibility.