The Utah Jazz traded up to pick 28 to select center, Tony Bradley Jr., out of North Carolina on June 22. To get to pick 28, the Jazz gave picks 30 and 42 to the Los Angeles Lakers, who previously occupied pick 28. Bradley is the Jazz’ second first-round selection after acquiring shooting guard Donovan Mitchell (pick 13) from the Denver Nuggets for Tyler Lydon (pick 24) and Trey Lyles. Mitchell and Bradley are both great picks considering their respective positions (SG and C) are weak in this draft, conceding to small forwards and point guards.
Bradley is 6’10.5″ with a remarkable wingspan of 7’5″. He also has a decent vertical of 27.5″. Even with his not-so-amazing vertical, his incredibly long arms will still allow him to easily play above the rim and block shots for the Jazz. He is also 250 pounds, but with 12% body fat, he has filled in with some muscle, but equally as much with unnecessary weight due to fat.
As far as his stats go, he did not start for the national champion Tar Heels during their title run. The Tar Heels chose instead to start Kennedy Meeks at center and Theo Pinson at power forward.
Bradley’s per-40 stats are amusing. He averaged 19.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per 40 minutes on the court. Bradley is a very good inside scorer. He does lack any outside shooting game, which is very helpful for prospects in today’s 3 pointer-obsessed league. His natural tools will allow him to come in immediately for Utah and block some shots as he sits behind model shot blocker Rudy Gobert on the depth chart.
As far as his weaknesses go besides a decent jump-shot, Bradley also lacks explosiveness with his leaping ability. While trying put-back layups and dunks, Bradley consistently missed them because of his inability to get his hands well above the rim to get time for a decent finish. He will definitely need to work on his weight to improve his athleticism and quickness to help him translate his game to the NBA.
A good pro comparison for Bradley is Skal Labissiere of the Sacramento Kings, who was drafted last year. Their stories are nearly identical. Both of them played for a national championship contender and both came off the bench for their talented teams. They also both have average height for a center, around 6’11”, as well as having crazy long wingspans. They also came into the league behind dominant big men like DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gobert. The final eerie comparison is that they were both picked with the exact same pick (Round 1, Pick 28) in their respective draft classes. It seems like too much of a good comparison. If Bradley can tear it up like Labissiere did in the second half of last season, watch out, NBA.