So, it's the morning after the NBA Draft. Your favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers, drafted former Indiana center Thomas Bryant.
Not sure what to think about your team going with Bryant?
No worries. I got you covered.
-Looking back at Bryant’s past.
Bryant was the 20th overall recruit in the ESPN100 Class of 2015 recruiting rankings, a McDonald's All-American who picked the Hoosiers over the likes of major programs such as Syracuse and Kentucky.
In his freshman year at Indiana, Bryant averaged 11.9 points and 5.8 rebounds and was one of most efficient offensive players in the country totaling a 68.3 percent field goal percentage. A large reason for Bryant's steady productivity was most of his offense was played off-ball, so he was able to get open, and his teammates would find him for easy points in the flow of the offense.
After an impressive freshman campaign, Bryant decided to return to Bloomington for his sophomore season and improve his draft stock. Bryant's minutes and scoring numbers saw an increase during his sophomore year as he averaged 12.9 points and 6.6 rebounds, but the one area where Bryant struggled with was his shooting as his field goal percentage slumped 17 percentage points from his freshman to sophomore year.
Bryant's draft stock subsequently declined after a somewhat disappointing sophomore year. With his college days behind him, Thomas Bryant will look to continue to grow as a player and leader and become a solid contributor right away for the Lakers.
-What he brings to the table
The first thing that jumps out with Bryant is his incredible measurements. At the NBA Combine, Bryant checked in at the height of 6-foot-11 and a 7-foot-6 wingspan, crazy numbers that will almost certainly turn the heads of NBA teams.
As one can infer from Bryant's field goal percentage his freshman to sophomore season, Bryant is a much more reliable finisher around the rim than he is out on the perimeter. His long arms let him excel around the basket with scoring and in the rebound department as he is excellent on the offensive glass.
Although Bryant's main strength is 15-feet and in, he's shown he's more than a bruiser inside the paint. Bryant shot 15 three-pointers is freshman season and made five of them which puts him at 33 percent on the year from behind the arc. In the summer between freshman and sophomore year, Bryant realized that he needed to become a two-way player for him to become a more valuable prospect and overall player.
Bryant started to stand out on the perimeter more often as he was 23-60 (38 percent) from three-point last year. Even with the improvement of the perimeter jumper, Bryant still has ways to go in becoming a consistent scorer from that range.
In a league that's witnessing more and more athletic big men, Bryant is a guy who fits that mold. Bryant doesn't possess the greatest leaping ability, but he can run the floor on the fast break which gives his team another weapon in transition.
There were glimpses of Bryant showcasing decent footwork in the paint, during half court sets, and on defense, but a vast majority of the time Bryant just looked uncomfortable in those instances.
Bryant looked as if he ran on his heels, which made it very hard to watch him sometimes and could be a reason for his lack of productivity on both sides of the floor. Especially in the low-post, Bryant's feet were his main setback as he tried to make a post move. He would either get tangled up or double-teamed by two opponents and struggle to throw the pass the ball out of the post which would lead to a turnover.
-Pick Grade: B+
After watching Bryant closely the past two years, he's one of the hardest draftees to predict in this year's NBA draft class. You can't go wrong with a player who plays with a fiery motor like Bryant does and looks to find ways to add skills to his arsenal as he has over the past two seasons.
Bryant has a high ceiling in my honest unbiased opinion. If he can play within himself and find his role in the Lakers’ system, he can develop into a solid NBA player.