Thomas Bryant has gone from project to productive starter in the blink of an eye, using size and skill to make an impact for the Washington Wizards.
Thomas Bryant is big, skilled, versatile, tenacious, aggressive, and seemingly a joy to play with based on the huge smile you see flashed across his face in the middle of games or in between plays. He’s lighting it up for the Wizards and definitely a player to watch, man.
In today’s NBA, positionless basketball, pace-and-space, stretch 4s and 5s are all the rage. No matter which one of the above elements gets you most excited, Thomas Bryant has something for you.
He is 6-foot-10, with long arms, athleticism, and an extremely active motor. One of the things that separates the long and gangly Bryant from other bigs with his physical profile, is that he is as active and fluidly athletic as a wing half his size. He can make those dexterous or quick-twitch plays because of his amazing physical gifts.
He shoots the ball really well for someone his size, but he has also shown a developing skillset to go outside of the realm of the typical big man. He has shown the penchant to be able to handle a bit, to create for both himself and others, although you wouldn’t quite confuse him with a point guard just yet.
Bryant’s development has been a slow burn. He was taken with the No. 42 pick in the 2017 draft, acquired by the Lakers in a draft-night trade. He appeared in just 15 games for them as a rookie, spending much of the season with their G League affiliate. He was prepared for that possibility before getting drafted, telling Alex Bozich of Inside the Hall, “It’s a great idea. Just go in there and develop your game. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
After being waived by the Lakers he caught on with the Wizards and impressed in nearly 1,500 minutes last season, starting 53 games and averaging 10.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game overall.
Although he is currently sitting with an injury, though 18 games this season (all starts), he is averaging 13.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.4 steals, and a block per game on 54 percent shooting from the field. Although his 3-point percentage isn’t great right now at 28 percent, his overall efficiency more than makes up for it. He also made 38.3 percent of his 3-pointers as a sophomore at Indiana so there is at least some track record of him being a more effective shooter.
Thomas Bryant has a chance to be a special player. He has a unique combination of gargantuan size and the fluid and quick-twitch athleticism that allows him to do things with his large frame that are usually the domain of people much smaller than him. Witha steady developing yet, already versatile and useful skillset he’s a fascinating player to watch and clearly an important part of the Washington Wizard’s future.