The Los Angeles Lakers called up Thomas Bryant and Gary Payton II from their South Bay affiliate of the G League prior to Friday night’s game with the Miami Heat. The pair provides depth for what’s become an injury ravaged team.
Josh Hart is still on the mend from hand surgery, Brandon Ingram remains out with a groin strain, and Kyle Kuzma is questionable due to a sprained right ankle. Moreover, Alex Caruso no longer has days available to be with the Lakers as part of his two-way contract.
Payton was signed to the same deal, though not until January, and still has plenty of days to play for the Lakers. Payton has appeared in just six games for the team thus far, primarily entering in the final minutes.
He’s averaged 17.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 16 games (four starts) with South Bay.
Bryant has also enjoyed success in the G League, averaging 19.2 points and 7.6 rebounds. Like Payton, Bryant has seen minimal opportunities with the Lakers, playing in just 10 games.
That’s not indicative of how the franchise views him, however, as Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and head coach Luke Walton have raved about Bryant during various points this season. Most recently, Pelinka highlighted Bryant’s ability to shoot well from behind the arc.