Thomas Bryant Says Vibe Surrounding Lakers Right Now Is ‘Very Solid’
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of superstar LeBron James, arguably no one on the Los Angeles Lakers has stepped up more in the wake of the Anthony Davis injury than Thomas Bryant.

In 12 games with Davis out of the lineup — including when he was initially injured against the Denver Nuggets — Bryant is averaging 16.3 points and 9.9 rebounds on 66.1 percent from the field and 55.0 percent from three. Even more importantly, the Lakers are 7-5 in that stretch.

Bryant discussed how his success has correlated with the team success the Lakers have had over the past few weeks. “Yeah, it’s working for me. I’m just happy that my teammates defer to me in key spots. And again, I just try to rebound as much as I can out there helping out on the defensive end and offensive end.”

And with Davis out, Bryant commended the Lakers for the way they’ve communicated as a team. “The vibe is very solid. We have a lot of constructive criticism for each other out there but we never take it to heart and we all know at the end of the day that we’re all in this together.

“Nobody is gonna feel sorry for us, nobody is gonna feel happy for us most of the time so we’re gonna have to all have it internal right there. So I think that’s a real big turning point for us.”

The Lakers being able to weather the storm without Davis certainly goes against expectations, and that has helped build the team’s confidence according to Bryant.

“Absolutely. The confidence is there with every last one of the guys that step out there on the floor. Everybody knows their job and knows what they have to do when we’re out there,” Bryant said. “You communicate, talk and share the ball, I feel like that’s a great part of what we’re doing right now.”

Bryant’s blend of stepping up personally while still making the focus on team success shows the kind of growth the Lakers have had throughout the season. It can help to explain how the team has gone 16-11 in their last 27 after starting the season 2-10.

Teams that play for one another with strong chemistry can — in small doses — overcome gaps in talent, fit, or depth. Bryant replacing Davis by turning back into the legitimate starting center he was in Washington is potentially a great sign for the weeks to come in L.A.

LeBron James credits offensive philosophy to recent success

James also took notice of the Lakers’ recent success after the team’s fourth consecutive victory on Friday night. He said that the team’s philosophy of ‘playing basketball right away’ and being unselfish with the ball has turned around the season.

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