Thomas Bryant and Dennis Schroder returned to action on Friday, making season debuts in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 128-121 win over the Detroit Pistons.
Bryant and Schroder spent 13 and 16 minutes on the court, respectively, making their Lakers comebacks official a month after the 2022-23 NBA season started. The delay was caused by thumb injuries that forced them to undergo surgery in the preseason.
Schroder ended up with two points and two assists while Bryant chipped in eight points and registered five rebounds. Head coach Darvin Ham enjoyed seeing both players back in action, particularly as L.A. tries to improve on the 4-10 record with a few players still sidelined.
“It was great to see them both out there and just to throw them out there and get them some game action,” Ham says. “Their timing is gonna come. Thomas was huge in some segments, even Dennis, having an additional playmaker out there and ball-handler. He’s a guy that you see him take Bogdanovic for a couple possessions, a guy that wants to do it on both sides of the ball.
“So we’ll figure it out as we start getting whole. We’ll see, we’ll study the film but definitely, it was great to have them available, especially with Max [Christie] and LeBron [James] being out. I thought it was huge. Those guys have played a lot of NBA minutes, both of those guys Dennis and Thomas. So having two veteran guys like that to be able to throw in the mix, as they get more comfortable, I think it’s gonna be a fruitful situation.”
Schroder seemed out of rhythm offensively on Friday, making just one field goal on five attempts (20%). But Ham understands the 29-year-old playmaker needs time to get his touch back.
“Coming off that hand surgery, he just needs to keep getting it stronger,” the Lakers head coach said. “He’s in a position now where outside of any type of weird contact, he can’t hurt it anymore than what has been repaired. And now it’s just a matter of him getting the reps, getting the minutes under his belt, game minutes.”
Ham adds the coaching staff has a plan for helping Schroder and Bryant to get in sync with the rest of the team.
“We’re gonna get him out there, him and Thomas, get them some 5-on-0 run where they can get acclimated to the system and go through scripted plays, and understand what exactly they’re supposed to be doing, what we’re looking for,” Ham says.
“I have all of the confidence in the world in Dennis. He’s like a family member for me, just being with him since he first stepped foot in the league and now being able to reconnect with him with the LakeShow. I’m super duper excited because I know once he does get comfortable with what we’re doing, that thrust that Russ provides off the bench, what Dennis is gonna bring once he gets submerged and really, really comfortable in rhythm, it’s gonna be a lot to deal with when you face the Lakers.”
Ham worked as an assistant coach on the Atlanta Hawks when Schroder made his NBA debut back in 2013-14, starting the guard’s five-year run with the Hawks.
Bryant appreciates Schroder’s support during rehab of injured thumb
Bryant has said having Schroder by his side after thumb surgery helped him go through the ups and downs of the rehab. “It was good to have someone you could talk to,” Bryant says.
“Feed off the same energy and go through the same injury. Throughout the rehab it was the same mishaps, same up and down. Just basic things that you go through in surgery and everything.
“It was good to have someone who knows what you are going through.”
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