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Emmanuel Mudiay Will Miss Jazz Fans In First Playoffs

Utah Jazz guard Emmanuel Mudiay (8) drives on New York Knicks guard Elfrid Payton (6) as the Utah Jazz and the New York Knicks play an NBA basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA is preparing for an unprecedented postseason. For the first time, all four rounds of the playoffs, plus the remainder of the regular season, will be held in one city. The NBA will reopen the season in Orlando beginning July 30, and finish the postseason by October 12, with games being split between two arenas. While the new plan represents a first for the NBA, Utah Jazz guard Emmanuel Mudiay will be experiencing a maiden voyage of his own. The fifth-year guard will make his career playoff debut with the Jazz at the Walt Disney World Resorts in August.

Mudiay signed with the Jazz in the summer of 2019 to help resuscitate his career by proving that he could provide meaningful minutes for a playoff contender. Now, the guard will get that chance.

“If you look at the team, it’s definitely a great place to come to if you’re trying to win,” Mudiay said when he joined the Jazz last summer.

Mudiay Preparing For First Playoffs

Like the rest of his teammates, Mudiay spent his time away from the season trying to stay busy. In addition to consuming plenty of entertainment, the guard says he worked to stay in shape during the hiatus.

“The majority for me was just trying to keep myself sane,” Mudiay said of his time away from the team. “And trying to keep myself in the best shape that I can be in.”

Like teammates Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, and Jordan Clarkson, Mudiay left Utah during the break. The guard returned to his Dallas home to pass the time and stay in shape.

“I got a chance to use my old high school gym,” Mudiay said, “I’ve had a key to that gym. That’s where I’ve got most of my work.”

Though participating in the postseason will be a first for the guard, there is one thing he anticipates he will miss in Orlando

“I wish that we could play in front of the Jazz fans,” Mudiay said. “That’s what I was excited about, just. hearing how exciting it is here when the playoffs start.”

Fans won’t be allowed inside the arenas where games are being held to finish the season. However, the NBA plans to incorporate fans cheering on video boards throughout the arenas. Despite, the empty gyms, Mudiay isn’t worried about the players’ ability to buy-in.

“I think when we just start playing the competitiveness is just going to come and kind of take over,” Mudiay said.

Tony Bradley Broadening Horizons

Like Mudiay, Jazz center Tony Bradley spent the quarantine trying to stay in shape. In fact, Bradley may have spent too much time working out during the hiatus.

In a conference call Monday, the third-year Jazz center looked noticeably thinner on video.

“I put on muscle,” Bradley said of his new-look body. “I wasn’t trying to but I feel good. I’m moving well, and I’ve been given that compliment. A lot of people are walking around the facility saying I look leaner, I look thinner.”

In addition to losing weight, Bradley has spent the time off broadening his horizons. During the hiatus, Jazz coach Quin Snyder asked each player on the roster to prepare a dish for the team’s website. The “Quarantine Cookbook” kept players engaged with a lighthearted activity while ensuring they were eating healthy. The exercise turned helped Bradley discover two passions during the league’s suspension.

“During this time, I wanted to try and find new things to do — grow in different things,” Bradley said. “Like the cooking stuff. I actually enjoy cooking with [Team Chef] Anthony. After Anthony,  I just started cooking on my own. I would go on Pinterest. Just little hobbies that I don’t usually get a chance to do. That type of thing and then also just trying to take care of my body better.”

Bradley’s expertise in the kitchen created an avenue for a new growth experience — Finding comfort in front of the camera. The Jazz center had been one of the more timid players on the roster when speaking to the media over the last several seasons. However,  alongside his new confidence on the floor, Bradley is natural for the cameras.

“[One of the things] I really don’t like is the camera,” Bradey said, “During this quarantine, I wanted to work on things that I’m uncomfortable with. So I turned being in front of the camera into something I enjoy soo it was natural. I really enjoy cooking, especially in front of the camera, showing my personality a little bit. It was fun. I enjoyed it.”

Mudiay, Bradley, and the Jazz will resume the season beginning July 30 against the New Orleans Pelicans. The game will be broadcast on TNT and AT&T SportsNet. Tip-off is at 6:30 pm EST.

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