Thomas Bryant is one of the better up-and-coming centers in all of the NBA. After being drafted in the second round by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017, he signed with the Wizards in 2018. He is our featured player today in our "Hoosiers in the Pros'' series looking at former Indiana University players in the NBA.
He's found a home in D.C. Bryant has come a long way in his still-young NBA career. He's progressed from a second-round pick who couldn't get minutes playing for a losing Lakers team in 2017-18 to a bona fide starting center for Washington. He's starting his third season with the Wizards, a team on the rise in the Eastern Conference.
Bryant has been in the news already this week too, as the NBA season gets rolling. Bryant accidentally dunked INTO THE WRONG BASKET during the Wizards' loss to the Orlando Magic on Saturday.
At least Bryant quickly made up for his miscue. He went on a rampage, scoring 11 points in less than three minutes – all for the Wizards this time. He finished the game with 19 points.
Here are five things to know about Thomas Bryant:
Bryant is entering his fourth NBA season after leaving Indiana University as a sophomore in 2017. He spent just one season in Los Angeles with the Lakers, and never really got a chance there. He's found a real home with the Wizards, where he has carved out a starting role.
He averaged 13.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season and started 36 out of 46 games.
2. Mr. Triple Double
The Wizards have a new look this year after tradiing long-time point guard John Wall to the Houston Rockets for All-Star Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is a triple-double machine who makes everyone better around him.
Bryant already has a high motor, but Westbrook may have the highest motor in NBA history. Look for Westbrook to set up Bryant for open looks that he's never seen before in his basketball career, and he will be more dangerous in screen-roll situations. The pair is going to be exciting.
Bryant won a Big Ten title and went to the Sweet Sixteen as a freshman in college for Tom Crean's 2016 Indiana Hoosiers. However, after three years in the NBA he has yet to make the playoffs with the Lakers or the Wizards. That should change this year.
The Wizards are poised to make a postseason run behind former MVP Westbrook and shooting guard Bradley Beal, who averaged 30 points per game last season and is one of the best two-guards in the game. Bryant should be able to capitalize on the open looks those two give him.
Last year, Bryant shot a career-high 40.7 percent from three-point range. In the modern NBA, bigs who can shoot is a big plus. Playing off Beal and Westbrook should lead to a field-day of open looks from downtown, and he needs to be able to capitalize.
While the 41-percent mark came on only two attempts per game, it's still an encouraging sign. If he can shoot a few more shots from deep per game, that could help the Wizards' offense be even more productive and open the lane for drives from Westbrook and Beal.
5. Consistent improvement
Player development is critical in the NBA and In each of Bryant's three NBA seasons, he has improved his scoring, rebounding, assists and blocks totals every single season.
There is no reason not to believe that he will not have another big jump this season. The 6-foot-10, 250-pound center works as hard as anyone during his off time, and he will only get more open looks playing with two stars in Beal and Westbrook. Look for a big year and a playoff appearance from Bryant and the Wizards this season.
Previous 'Hoosiers in the Pros' stories
- CODY ZELLER INJURED : Charlotte center Cody Zeller has waited nine months to play a game, but a broken hand in the season opener will keep him out a month or more. CLICK HERE
- ERIC GORDON'S NEW ROLE: New Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas wants to get the most out of Eric Gordon's scoring potential, so he's going to use him off the bench in a sixth-man role to start the season. CLICK HERE
- NEW PATH FOR YOGI FERRELL: After struggling to find a new home during this offseason, Yogi Ferrell was signed by the Utah Jazz but will start the season in the G-League. CLICK HERE
- OG ANUNOBY GETS PAID: OG Anunoby has been an important piece in the Toronto Raptors' postseason runs, and he was rewarded with a new four-year, $72 million contract this week. CLICK HERE
- JUWAN MORGAN MAKES HIS MARK: Former Hoosier star Juwan Morgan made an impression as a rookie with the Utah Jazz, and he's looking forward to bigger and better things in his second year. CLICK HERE