Lakers News: Thomas Bryant Feeling 100% Healthy After Recovering From Torn ACL
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Long has the time come for the Los Angeles Lakers to acquire a five-out offensive center to pair with superstar power forward Anthony Davis.

After being drafted by the Lakers in the second round in 2017, and now signing a one-year deal with the same team to have a chance to compete for the starting center role, a full-circle moment has occurred for Thomas Bryant.

Bryant suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during the 2020-21 season with the Washington Wizards while he was in the midst of averaging a career-high 14.3 points.

But after going through the knee rehab and recovery process, Bryant is enthusiastic that he’s completely healthy and ready to suit up for the Lakers:

“It’s been almost two years and I’m feeling 100% great,” Bryant said when asked about his knee at his introductory press conference. “Not good, great. I have no hiccups, I have no setbacks or anything. To be honest, my left leg feels even stronger than the right so I feel like it’s really, really back and I’m ready to go.”

The ACL injury has long plagued the NBA by taking star players out for a season and granting them the unfortunate possibility that they will not return to the same physical form they were pre-injury, hence current New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose.

Bryant was able to come back to somewhat normal form in the second half of last season with the Wizards when he played in 27 games. With the recovery process now complete, the 24-year-old big man details the moment when he felt 100 percent.

“I knew it was 100% when I didn’t think about it. That was the thing, when I stopped trying to think about my knee and worrying about it and just let the game of basketball take me and I got through that a couple practices, a couple games, once you get a couple dunks in and you get knocked down one time, you’ll get the feeling back and that’s how I knew I was 100%. That was during last season, I believe the month after I returned to gameplay.”

A healthy Bryant grants the Lakers a spacious offense and rim protection on the defensive end. With Davis preferring to stick at the power forward spot compared to center, Bryant gives him the cushion to be comfortable as his front court partner.

The recent signing of the 6-foot-10-inch big man felt like a home run for Lakers fans, especially on a one-year contract. A formula of filling out the roster with young 3-and-D wings and a stretch-big has worked well so far, and can only be complementary to the possible acquisition of Brooklyn Nets superstar guard Kyrie Irving.

Lonnie Walker IV Is Excited To Compete For A Championship

One of the benefits of a young roster versus an old one is the hunger young players in the NBA have because they have either never won a championship before, or they are playing for the future of their jobs.

The addition of former San Antonio Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV brings the competitive nature the Lakers have always been known to have. During his introductory press conference, Walker IV shared his excitement about playing for a championship contender.

The 6-foot-4-inch guard known as Lonnie ‘Skywalker” IV, had a career year last season with the Spurs, averaging 12.1 points in 70 games played.

While Walker still needs to improve his spot-up 3-point shooting and efficiency, the athleticism and nose for the ball on the defensive end are traits the Lakers need and he will provide this season.

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