When Anthony Davis was sidelined due to a stress injury in his foot, both Thomas Bryant and Wenyen Gabriel stepped up in his absence for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant has been one of the most efficient offensive players in the league, while Gabriel provides the energy and motor that the Lakers lack some nights. Both big men deserve to be in the rotation, though Darvin Ham has seemed to lean in Bryant’s direction since Davis’s return.
When asked about how he divvies up the backup center minutes, Ham said it’s come down to the rhythm that Bryant’s established though he expects Gabriel to get his share of minutes in the future.
“They’re both interesting players,” Ham said. “Thomas has gotten a bulk of those minutes at the five and started for us when AD wasn’t available and has just been playing with a really good rhythm. Wenyen hasn’t really done anything wrong to remove himself from the rotation, it’s just a numbers thing and you only have so many minutes to give out. So he’s doing his job staying ready, his number will be called again I’m sure at some point, sometime soon, and I expect for him to play like he had been playing at a really high level. He’s more wiry, probably a little bit quicker, faster and more nimble, and then you have Thomas that is more of a bruiser, screener, runner, really good roller. They both have really good hands and are able to finish around the rim so it’s a good problem to have.
“You just feel bad for them because you know one of them is going to suffer minutes-wise and fall out of the rotation a little bit. But at the end of the day, it’s great. Whoever’s number you call between those two, like so many of our other players, you’re gonna get good results for the most part.”
It’s a little confusing that Gabriel hasn’t gotten more opportunities considering how small the Lakers still are on most nights. While Bryant’s been great offensively, Gabriel’s the better defender and that should count for something.
Luckily, neither player so far has complained about a reduced role since Davis returned to the lineup. In fact, Bryant is happy to have his teammate’s presence back on the floor so it seems like any grumblings of reduced roles is a non-issue as of now.
Anthony Davis not upset about being left off All-Star team
Davis was the driving force behind the Lakers’ recent win over the Indiana Pacers. His performance came in the wake of the news that he was snubbed for the All-Star team, though the star big man said he isn’t concerned with the situation.
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