Although Indiana had a disappointing season, missing the NCAA Tournament, Thomas Bryant in his sophomore year continued to prove that he has a solid chance at becoming a reliable NBA player.
While Indiana faced their face share of difficulties as a team, including numerous injuries and disappointing defense, Bryant continued to make strides individually carrying over from his excellent freshmen season. At the moment, draft boards have Bryant forecasted in the area of a potential late first-round pick and early second-round pick of the 2017 NBA Draft.
Bryant was a two-time third-team team All-Big Ten selection in his two years at Indiana. Let’s take a look at some of his strengths, weaknesses and where he fits in today’s NBA.
One of Bryant’s greatest strengths is his physical measurements. According to DraftExpress: Bryant measured a 7'6 wingspan and a 9'4.5 standing reach at the 2017 NBA Combine, both numbers which ranked third in terms of all prospects that were measured. Bryant's physical stature will allow him to affect the game in multiple areas, particularly as a finisher and on the offensive glass.
Although Bryant was a solid finisher with talented post moves at Indiana, what makes him intriguing to NBA teams is his new added ability to knock down three-pointers. After hitting just 33% on 1.8 attempts last season, Bryant's three-point percentage improved to 38.3% on 2.5 attempts per game as a sophomore.
It remains to be seen if Bryant’s new shooting ability will translate to the next level, but Bryant’s improvement could prove to be very crucial if he wants to become a mainstay in the league, especially with the way the NBA continues to change with the stretch big man.
Where Bryant struggled at Indiana was on the defensive end of the floor. He wasn't the greatest defensive rebounder during his two years at Indiana. Boxing out opponents has always been a challenge for him. Bettering himself in that regard will greatly help his chances of becoming a more passable defender.
Bryant has also had some difficulties defending the pick-and-roll. He is not the most mobile player and NBA teams are excellent at exploiting players deficiencies in the pick-and-roll. Bryant improving his quickness and mobility is crucial for him to be able to stay on the floor at the NBA level.
-Potential Best Fit:
If teams believe in Bryant’s versatility on the offensive end, then he is a solid option for any team looking for a dynamic center. However, if a team is looking for a role player, Bryant might have to sit out for awhile and work on his defensive instances and improve in the weight room.
So if a team feels comfortable drafting a player that will need some extra time to develop, then Bryant could be their man on draft night.
Bryant is in the second tier of centers available in this year’s NBA draft. Bryant’s potential of becoming a guy that can space the floor with the three-point shot as well as having the skills of a traditional big man, makes him an interesting option in this year’s NBA draft.