NBA All-Star Weekend is almost here and the Los Angeles Lakers have just two more games before the extended time off. The All-Star break signifies the final stretch of the regular season and for a team like the Lakers, usually means some younger players will begin getting closer looks.
Two players who have yet to show what they can do in a larger role are rookie center Thomas Bryant, and guard Gary Payton II, who recently signed a two-way contract. Each has spent the majority of their time with the South Bay Lakers of the G League, but both will be with the team for this final road trip.
The Lakers have called up both Bryant and Payton for the team’s two-game road trip ahead of the All-Star Break, via South Bay’s Twitter account:
— South Bay Lakers (@SouthBayLakers) February 13, 2018
Both players have been extremely effective in the G League. In 25 games, Thomas is averaging 19.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks while shooting 61 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from 3-point range.
Payton obviously hasn’t been around as long, playing in just nine contests, but is posting averages of 15.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.7 steals.
The call-up is most likely just so the young guys can get some time around the veterans as neither is likely to see any significant playing time. Thomas would be the more likely to see court time as there are some backup center minutes to be had while the backcourt is slammed.
That’s even with taking into account the Lakers officially ruled out a return for Lonzo Ball before the All-Star break.
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