LAS VEGAS — Tony Bradley took his time coming out of the Thomas and Mack Center locker room following the Utah Jazz’s 87-78 loss to the Houston Rockets on Thursday.
The former North Carolina big man continued to dominate this offseason with 23 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and two swats, but the Jazz fell to 2-2 in the Las Vegas Summer League after the latest loss.
Although the team was up and down, Bradley has remained rock solid.
“He’s just worked really, really hard,” Jazz assistant Vince Legarza said of Bradley. “He’s been really committed to the weight room and working with our strength and our performance staff.”
Utah will play its final game in Sin City at 2 p.m. MT Saturday versus the Charlotte Hornets on NBA TV. The past couple weeks have been busy for the players with Salt Lake City Summer League games played at Vivint Arena from July 1-3 then the Las Vegas games starting right afterward on July 5.
Here are five things we learned about the squad during two weeks of Summer League action:
Reintroductions: With all the offseason acquisitions and moves, Bradley entered this offseason knowing he needed a terrific showing during the summer league to prove himself. He started by getting in better shape to reconstruct his physical frame, and it’s paid off with his on-court results. Bradley received Salt Lake City Summer League Standout honors, with his stellar play in Utah, then followed up in Las Vegas by averaging a team-best 19.7 points and 11.3 rebounds on 56 percent shooting, even impressing his former college coach Roy Williams along the way.
“I knew right after the season that it would be a big summer,” Bradley said. “So, I just tried to push myself in the weight room and on the court just to go my hardest and I feel like that translated in this Summer League and I just wanted to give my best effort.”
New guys: Making the Jazz roster will certainly be tough for second-round draftees Jarrell Brantley, Justin Wright-Foreman and Miye Oni, but the trio displayed glimpses of their potential during their first NBA opportunity. Like Bradley, Brantley also received Salt Lake City Summer League Standout honors with averages of 13.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.0 steals per contest — including a vicious one-handed poster jam in the final game against San Antonio. Wright-Foreman continues to learn the point guard position, after posting the NCAA’s second-highest scoring average during his senior season at Hofstra, while Oni was looking to fit into the new setting without doing too much.
“I’m not trying to look and say, ‘Oh, I’ve got to get off in Summer League,’” Oni admitted after averaging 9.3 points on 44 percent shooting in Las Vegas. “I know a lot of guys think that but I’m just trying to fit into the team, how I think I’ll fit into a real team and play the same way every time. Just trying to keep it consistent.”
The return: A season-ending shoulder injury in January sidelined Salt Lake City Stars center Willie Reed for the remainder of the year. However, the former Stars No. 1 pick suited up for the Jazz at full strength, with no lingering effects of the injury this summer. At first, Reed received an invite to the Jazz’s free agent mini-camp as well as another one in Dallas, then used his wisdom and guidance not only for himself, but to help some of the new additions for Utah. Reed averaged 10.3 points and 6.0 rebounds off 57 percent during his three appearances in Las Vegas and could be a valuable asset to the franchise in some capacity this year.
“I’m just working on my game and doing what I can do to get on a roster, whether it’s the Jazz or anywhere else, but that fact that they let me come here, that means there’s a great opportunity,” Reed said. “It’s still work to be done. It’s no pressure.”
Moving forward: Quin Snyder’s assistant coaches Lamar Skeeter, Johnnie Bryant and Legarza ran the show during Summer League with Snyder taking a behind-the-scenes approach. Skeeter coached in Utah while Bryant and Legarza took over in Las Vegas. Although many of the summer league players won’t make the final roster, the coaches saw this opportunity as one to grow as well as sharpen up on their execution as well, which will ultimately benefit them in the long run.
“There’s some things strategically that we’ve kind of tried to get to kind of get looks at things for next season, whether it be timeout plays or different looks out of the offense or defense,” Legarza explained. “So, we’ll definitely see how things work and what didn’t work and see if we can apply it.”Comment on this story
A STAR IS BORN: Before leaving for his worldwide Adidas tour, Donovan Mitchell stopped by Las Vegas’ Shoe Palace to donate money to the local Boys & Girls Club as well as his D.O.N. Issue #1 sneakers and tickets to the new Spider-Man movie during a meet a greet on July 5.
He will be gone until the end of the month, touring Asia, France and Germany, but the Jazz guard’s star continues to shine with every appearance. Adidas even purchased a large video ad that projected right off the Strip to continue to push his sneaker.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Mitchell told the Deseret News. “It never gets old.”