Los Angeles Lakers rookie Thomas Bryant hasn’t gotten a ton of minutes in the NBA this season, but the second-round pick has shown enough while playing in the G League for general manager Rob Pelinka and the rest of the front office to still be incredibly high on his potential.
Bryant has averaged 19.2 points and 7.5 rebounds on 59.9 percent shooting while converting 36.4 percent of his 3-point attempts in 30 G League games. So while he’s only played a handful of minutes in the NBA, Bryant’s demonstrated the type of skills that NBA teams covet.
During an appearance on “Mason and Ireland” on ESPN L.A. Radio, Pelinka made it clear that as much as the team likes what they’ve seen from Bryant on the court, they’re also seeing the right things from him off of it:
“In particular with Thomas Bryant, we all know the game is about shooting bigs. It was just stretch fours at one point, now you’ve got to have stretch fours and stretch fives, and Thomas Bryant is a seven-foot stretch five. Gunnar Peterson and our weight staff have done an unbelievable job just getting him locked in to being an ‘NBA strong’ player. His body fat went way down under 10 percent, he’s eating clean and you can just see the wiry, strong way he’s growing into his body.”
But while the Lakers iare thrilled with the way Bryant has adjusted to the NBA, they are even more impressed with the natural tools the big man possesses, so much so that Pelinka is already visualizing the second-rounder as a part of the team’s future:
“He’s just an unbelievable, almost intoxicating 3-point shooter from the top of the key. It’s almost automatic. As he grows into his body and the pace of the NBA game you can see Lonzo coming off that high ball screen, you can see Kuz in the space that Thomas Bryant will open up for our cutters and our slashers. We do feel like he’s going to be a big piece of the future and how we want to play, and how we want to build this.”
That’s about as high of praise as a player taken with the 42nd overall pick can get from their general manager.
And while Bryant still has a long ways to go to reach his stated goal of becoming the best big man in the NBA, the Lakers seem to believe that he can at least someday force his way into the conversation as the best big on their roster, even if they’re taking things slowly with him for now.
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