Rising from the Scraps: Thomas Bryant Revives the LA Lakers’ Center Position

The Lakers’ Acquisition of Bryant Thomas

The Los Angeles Lakers recently made a significant move by signing center Bryant Thomas to a one-year deal. This move comes as a result of Thomas missing a considerable amount of playing time over the past two seasons due to an ACL injury while playing for the Washington Wizards. It’s no secret that the Lakers have limited flexibility when it comes to signing free agents, which is why they often take calculated risks on players in need of redemption or veterans recovering from injuries – just like Bryant.

Bryant’s Potential Impact on the Lakers

The Lakers have high hopes that Thomas Bryant will provide them with a formidable presence in the paint as a rim protector. Additionally, they expect him to contribute as a potential double-double player while Anthony Davis dominates the power forward position. By bolstering their frontcourt, the Lakers aim to enhance their chances of winning the coveted 2023 NBA Championship.

Bryant’s Journey: From High School to the Pros

Before his professional career, Bryant had an impressive run as a standout basketball player at Bishop Kearney High School in western New York. His talent caught the attention of renowned college programs such as Syracuse, Indiana, Kentucky, and UCLA, but he ultimately chose to play for Indiana University. After two seasons in college, Bryant decided to make the leap to the NBA.

During the 2017 NBA Draft, Bryant was selected by the Utah Jazz as the 42nd overall pick in the second round. However, he was soon traded to the Lakers on draft night. In his rookie season with the Lakers, Bryant’s playing time was limited, mostly seeing action during garbage time. Despite the lack of significant opportunities, the Lakers decided to release him.

Fortunately, Bryant’s career took an upward turn when he joined the Washington Wizards. In December 2018, he made headlines when he scored an impressive 31 points on a flawless 14-for-14 shooting performance in a thrilling triple-overtime victory against the Phoenix Suns.

Prior to his unfortunate ACL injury, Bryant showcased his skills during the 2020-21 season with the Wizards, averaging a career-best 14.3 points per game along with 6.1 rebounds. It was an unfortunate setback, but Bryant’s resilience and determination led him back to the court for the end of the 2021-22 season. Although he appeared rusty, Bryant’s return provided a glimpse of his potential, contributing an average of 7.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in 16.3 minutes per game.

The Lakers’ Offseason Challenges

As the Lakers sought to bolster their roster, they faced various obstacles during the offseason. With three maximum contracts already on their books, the team had limited financial flexibility to make significant moves in the free-agent market. Furthermore, they found themselves entangled in trade discussions involving Russell Westbrook and the Brooklyn Nets.

The Lakers’ acquisition of Westbrook last season did not yield the desired results, and it became clear that a change was necessary. However, finding a trade partner for Westbrook proved challenging due to his high salary and reputation as a selfish player. On the other hand, the Nets were open to trading Kyrie Irving, but the market for his services was limited.

The Lakers’ desire to include Westbrook in a trade with the Nets sparked negotiations, but the two teams struggled to reach an agreement on additional players involved in the deal. The Nets were keen on including Joe Harris and his $18 million salary, while the Lakers preferred Seth Curry, who carried a more manageable $8 million salary.

Given their financial constraints, the Lakers had to explore alternative options to bolster their frontcourt. This led them to take a chance on Bryant Thomas and his reconstructed knee, knowing that they couldn’t afford high-priced free agents such as Mitchell Robinson.

Conclusion

The Los Angeles Lakers’ signing of Bryant Thomas represents a strategic move to strengthen their roster in preparation for the upcoming season. By taking a calculated risk on a player with untapped potential, the Lakers hope to reap the benefits of his skills as a rim protector and double-double threat. While financial constraints limited their offseason moves, the Lakers remain determined to compete for the 2023 NBA Championship.

FAQs

1. What role will Bryant Thomas play for the Lakers?

Bryant Thomas is expected to provide the Lakers with a strong presence in the paint as a rim protector and potential double-double player alongside Anthony Davis.

2. How did Bryant Thomas perform during his time with the Washington Wizards?

Prior to his injury, Bryant showcased considerable improvement with the Wizards, averaging a career-best 14.3 points per game and 6.1 rebounds.

3. Why did the Lakers choose to sign Bryant Thomas?

Due to limited financial flexibility, the Lakers needed to explore alternative options to strengthen their frontcourt. Taking a chance on Bryant’s reconstructed knee offered them a potential solution without breaking the bank.

4. What challenges did the Lakers face in the offseason?

The Lakers encountered obstacles in their attempts to trade Russell Westbrook and acquire assets that would complement their roster. Financial constraints and disparities in trade negotiations with the Nets complicated their plans.

5. What are the Lakers’ title odds for the 2023 NBA Championship?

As of now, the Lakers are listed with +1100 odds to win the 2023 NBA Championship.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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