LeBron James presented flowers to LA Lakers reserve Thomas Bryant after he continued to dominate in Anthony Davis’ absence. Bryant scored 29 points and 14 rebounds in the Lakers’ 136-134 win over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.
Bryant played a key role during that close contest. His resilience and overall effort at both ends proved decisive, helping the Lakers secure their fifth win after bounce. Here’s what James had to say about Bryant after the game (via Lakers Daily):
“He’s making the most of his chances. He’s a really hard-working player who knows how to play and is probably one of the most skilled big boys in the game.”
Thomas Bryant has averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, achieving a shooting rate of 68.1%, including 55.0% from 3-points with Anthony Davis absent for the last 13 games. this. The Lakers recorded a surprising win record, going 8-5 in that span.
He had excellent chemistry with the team’s main builders, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, just like Davis. That was crucial to the Lakers’ success as they dominated the highlands, even in AD’s absence.
LeBron James envisions a trio of his forwards, Anthony Davis and Thomas Bryant
The appearance of Thomas Bryant in Anthony Davis’ the absence has been a blessing in disguise for LA Lakers. The team desperately needed a bigger size on their front court. Darvin Ham had to play with three and four defenders earlier this season when AD was healthy.
That puts a lot of pressure on LeBron James, who played as four for most of the season, and Davis helped the team dominate the table. However, with Bryant’s ability to create space in the floor, recover and defend effectively in the outer circle, the Lakers could explore deploying a roster of James, Bryant and Davis on the front lines.
James said after the win over the Kings that he envisions a trio of forwards when AD returns.
“I envisioned what the front yard would be like for AD, myself and Thomas.”
The LA Lakers explored trading for players like Myles Turner, who could make space on the floor and play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. However, the rise of Thomas Bryant allowed them to hold their own. There’s a consistent sample size of how his kit is compatible with the Lakers’ superstar duo.
It will be interesting to see if Darvin Ham changes his roster and explores playing Bryant alongside LeBron and AD once the latter returns.