Tony Bradley’s Development

Tony Bradley’s Development

Earlier this week, we took a look at Seventh Woods’ recent emergence. Fellow freshman Tony Bradley, who started off the season so strong (11.5 PPG (with a FG% of 72.2) and 6.8 RPG in 17.8 MPG through the first six games of his collegiate career), didn’t leave himself as much room for noticeable growth. But that doesn’t mean that his game hasn’t been developing in some areas.

Let’s break down Bradley’s numbers from his first 12 games (through Kentucky) and his last 12 games (10 of them in the ACC).

Bradley as a Scorer:

The good news is that, despite facing a higher quality of opponent/athlete, Bradley is getting more close attempts during the second half of the season, and also converting them more efficiently. What’s actually happening is that many of his free throw opportunities in the early season (when Bradley had a FTA Rate of 87.5 in games 1-12) are merely shot attempts now (his FTA Rate over the last 12 games has dropped to 46.4—still solid, but not off-the-charts high). So his total impact around the rim (in terms of both volume and efficiency) hasn’t changed much at all from one season segment to the next. Still, maintaining a high volume of efficient close finishes against ACC-caliber frontcourts is probably the most important element to Bradley’s offensive game. That he’s proven to be able to do it bodes well for his future as a go-to post scorer for the Heels.

Almost all of Bradley’s non-close attempts have been in the form of hook shots. He’s been making those shots much less consistently in ACC play (and, anecdotally, has definitely been affected by longer/stronger post defenders). The next steps for Bradley as a post scorer will be to develop a reliable go-to move, then a counter move or two. He’s also been taking (and missing) more catch-and-shoot mid-range jumpers in ACC play. It’s still a tiny part of his offensive repertoire, but being able to reliably hit an elbow or short-corner jumper will be part of Bradley’s offensive maturation, too.

Bradley’s turnover rate has climbed a bit from 1.58 / 40 in games 1-12 to 2.65 / 40 in games 13-24. Offensive fouls, however, continue to be his biggest source of turnovers, accounting for half his total in both season segments (0.79 in first half, 1.32 in second half). Some of these have been questionable calls (whistled when Bradley tries to create/maintain deep post position), and will probably start to (largely) disappear once he becomes a more established (and respected) post scorer.

Bradley as a Rebounder:

  • First 12 games: 23.0 OR%, 15.5 DR%, 14.6 rebounds / 40 minutes
  • Last 12 games: 18.5 OR%, 20.9 DR%, 15.1 rebounds / 40 minutes

While Bradley’s become slightly less dominant on the offensive glass (but still elite), his defensive rebounding has made big strides recently. He’s close to becoming a rare 20-20 guy in terms of OR%-DR%. Overall, his per-minute rebounding rate has trickled up a bit over the second half of the season (despite an uptick in competition level). That’s obviously a good sign for the Heels next season (in a post-Meeks world).

Bradley as a Defender:

  • First 12 games: 1.37 blocks / 40, 62.3 Stop%, 39.5 TS% Allowed, 13.2 points allowed / 40
  • Last 12 games: 2.34 blocks / 40, 57.5 Stop%, 43.8 TS% Allowed, 12.8 points allowed / 40

Bradley’s per-minute block rate is up about 70% in the second half of the season. That’s a great sign. While his Stop% is lower in ACC minutes, it’s actually relatively higher (compared to the team average) than his non-conference Stop%. In non-conference play, his TS% allowed was tied with Meeks for the best mark on the team. In league games, it’s second to Meeks’ mark of 42.9%. Bradley is still not a classic rim protector, but he’s starting to develop into something more closely resembling that.

Bradley’s On-Court Impact:

Through the first 12 games of the season, the Heels were slightly better (on both ends) with Bradley on the floor. His on-court/off-court differential was +2.34 (UNC was 0.07 points / 100 better on offense in his minutes, and 2.27 points / 100 better on defense) over that timeframe. During ACC play, Bradley was logged a team-high efficiency margin of +18.6. Carolina has been 11.1 points / 100 possessions with Bradley on the floor than with him on the bench. All of that impact has been on the defensive end:

  • ACC minutes with Bradley—Offensive Efficiency: 116.8, Defensive Efficiency: 98.2, Efficiency Margin: +18.6
  • ACC minutes without Bradley—Offensive Efficiency: 117.5, Defensive Efficiency: 110.0, Efficiency Margin: +7.5

Against Pomeroy Tier A&B opponents (i.e., top-1oo venue-adjusted competition), Bradley’s efficiency margin of +11.2 is third-best on the team behind Theo Pinson (+11.7) and Isaiah Hicks (+11.2).

While Tony Bradley’s statistical splits haven’t changed dramatically from the first half of the season (21.5 points / 40 on a TS% of 60.7, 14.6 rebounds / 40, 1.37 blocks / 40) to the second half (19.7 points / 40 on a TS% of 55.6, 15.1 rebounds / 40, 2.34 blocks / 40), he has shown improvements in some key areas (defensive rebounding and shot-blocking to name two). He’s also shown the ability to maintain his close scoring efficiency against bigger, better frontcourts. Nothing that’s occurred in the second half of the season has changed my (high) opinion of Bradley’s potential as a go-to post scorer for Carolina.

 

 

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