Philadelphia 76ers: Tony Bradley is thriving in OKC – Section 215

Posted in Delaware Tattoo on May 06, 2021

Has any bench player captured the hearts, minds, and imaginations of Philadelphia 76ers fans the world over as quickly as Tony Bradley?

BBall Paul Reed maybe. And Marco Belinelli. Really, there are a ton of players who fit that bill, as our fair city has kind of made it a low-key pastime to stan fringe players beyond their abilities and overinflate their abilities to sometimes detrimental degrees, but still, the love affair between Bradley and the Sixers fans was at near Mike Scott-levels in the month of March, without so much as an ounce of realization that maybe, just maybe he wouldnt still be on the team by seasons end.

There was just no way, right? At 23, Bradley was the type of player who could remain on the Sixers for years to come and potentially develop into a long-term backup for their MVP-caliber big man Joel Embiid, long after Dwight Howard finally decides to hang up his shorts and enjoy all the frostys his $242,500,792 in career earnings can buy.

Fun fact: Considering a junior frosty goes for $1.19, $242,500,792 will buy you a lot of frostys (194,000,633) in PA and even more if you buy them in Delaware sans the six percent sales tax (203,782,178).

But then, just like that, it was over. After turning in a perfect game against the Golden State Warriors in the final game before the 2021 NBA trade deadline, Bradley was gone traded to the OKC Thunder in a three-team deal alongside two second-round picks and Doc Rivers son Austin (awkward) for George Hill, and Ignas Brazdeikis (more on that here).

Fortunately, we dont have to feel too bad about Tony Bradleys plight, as hes actually having a pretty darn good run with a well-defined role in a contract year despite going from one of the best teams in the NBA to arguably the worst.

Tony Bradley has officially made 18 appearances and counting for the OKC Thunder, which is only two fewer games than he played with the Philadelphia 76ers in roughly half the time.

While he hasnt earned a start as of yet, exclusively playing behind UCLA-meme-turned-two-way contract convert Moses Brown, Bradley is averaging career-high minutes (18.2), points (8.7), and rebounds (6.3) playing for Mark Daigneaults squad, with very little signs of slowing down anytime soon.

But wait, it actually gets better for the young not-quite-7-footer. Despite not quite playing 50 percent of the Thunders minutes at the five, Bradley is actually outperforming Brown from a statistical standpoint, outpacing the Luigi to his Mario in points and field goal percentage, not that its a competition or anything.

Assuming the duo are retained past their final games of the season versus the Los Angeles Clippers on May 16th, which shouldnt be hard, considering Brown is already locked into a multi-year deal and OKC has both the cap space and Bird Rights to keep Bradley at whatever price point theyd like, the Thunder might actually have a pretty impressive one-two punch at the five spot to pair up with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, Darius Bazley, and about two dozen first-round picks over the next seven years.

And as for the Philadelphia 76ers? Did they royally whiff on the enigma known colloquially as Tony TB11 Bradley? Eh, not really.

Considering how well George Hill has played since arriving in Philly as a reliable veteran presence coming off the bench and that the team can pick up his option for the 2021-22 season at a very reasonable roughly $10 million cap hit which could technically be valuable both on the court and as a trade chip its hard to argue with the value Morey got back from three players who werent expected to be a part of Doc Rivers playoff rotation, and a quartet of future second-round picks that wont help this team win a chip anytime soon.

Factor in the, well, fact that Dwight Howard could all but surely be retained for the 2021-22 season if need be and the Sixers presumed desire to actually sign/draft/trade for a stretch five to pair up with Ben Simmons when Joel Embiid is off the court and Bradleys development from a Zhaire Smith contract dump throw-in into a legitimate NBA role player is just gravy for all parties involved.

Sidebar: Assuming Brown and Bradley do end up retained for the forthcoming season, theres a better than not chance that Mike Muscala wont be and could thus be a prime candidate to return to South Philly for a second stint as a floor stretching four/five man behind Joel Embiid. Thats a worthy consolation prize just for his Super Mario Brothers 3 tattoo.

And hey, assuming the Philadelphia 76ers actually pull this thing out and bring back a championship to the City of Brotherly Love for the first time since 1983, Tony Bradley will surely receive a nice, (presumably) diamond-clad ring for his 20 games of effort whenever he returns to town, which is a pretty nice reward for having a chance to bolster his stock heading into his first bite at the free agency apple.

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Philadelphia 76ers: Tony Bradley is thriving in OKC - Section 215

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