Bulls Insider

Tony Bradley aims to help Bulls, not recall hurting them

/ by K.C. Johnson
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Bulls Insider

In Tony Bradley’s defense, the fifth-year big man did have better games last season.

Still, it was pretty amazing that one of the Chicago Bulls’ quietly important offseason acquisitions didn’t initially remember torching his future employer at the United Center last March 11 while playing for the Philadelphia 76ers.

“Which game?” Bradley asked.

The one where, playing without Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the 76ers cruised to a 127-105 victory in large part to Bradley’s energy and output. He scored 14 points on 7-for-7 shooting with five rebounds and three blocks.

“What, last year?” Bradley said. “Was I on OKC?”

No, that trade to the Thunder came two weeks later.

“Oh yeah,” Bradley finally said, when told more details about his big night. “That was the first game right after the All-Star break? OK, OK, now I remember.”

The Bulls certainly did. For a team with question marks about rim protection and interior defensive presence, adding Bradley in free agency could be an important move. Though he never has put up gaudy seasonal statistics, he has averaged 0.6 blocks in 12.6 minutes over 112 games with the Jazz, 76ers and Thunder.

“I feel like I play to the best of my ability on defense, the pick-and-roll defense, to protect the rim,” Bradley said Tuesday following the Bulls’ first official training camp practice at the United Center. “I know I’m no high-flyer. But I do know how to get shots before they leave the hand instead of all the way up top. So I think I’m pretty good at it, pretty solid.”

 

That’s all the Bulls need Bradley to be — solid. For a team flush with scoring options, Bradley knows his role will be to do the little things in a reserve role. Set good screens. Rebound. Defend.

“Do all the little things to win,” Bradley said.

Bradley, 23, knows general manager Marc Eversley from their shared time in Philadelphia and said he learned a lot playing behind Joel Embiid and Dwight Howard.

“Joel is just different. His build is different. He’s a 7-foot big guy who can move. He’s quicker and faster than a lot of people think,” Bradley said. “Just seeing him work and what he does had an impact on me.”

And now Bradley will try to make an impact for the Bulls. Just don’t ask him about making an impact against them.

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