Basically every member of the latest crop of Los Angeles Lakers rookies took their turn getting shine last season. Lonzo Ball came in with all the hype, Kyle Kuzma quickly became beloved and Josh Hart burst onto the scene later in the year.
Missing from much of that praise, however, was the fourth member of that rookie class, Thomas Bryant. As the 42nd overall pick in the 2018 Draft class who also spent most of his year in the G League, that isn’t totally unexpected.
But what went missing in that lack of attention was that Bryant often dominated the G League, and could be in for an exciting second season in which he plays significantly more than the 72 NBA minutes he saw last year, at least if he attacks the summer right.
During his cameo in a video of a retired Baron Davis dominating a UCLA pick-up run, Bryant looked like he might be taking the right steps towards doing just that (h/t Lakers Reddit):
Now before anyone gets overexcited, the fact that Davis — who retired several years ago — was able to dominate this pick-up run doesn’t exactly imply that this is the closest approximation of an NBA game that Bryant is playing in here.
Still, it wasn’t so much how Bryant was doing as what he was doing that looks promising. The big man was setting screens and rolling hard to the basket and finding good passing lanes for Davis to hit him in stride.
If Bryant can continue to work on his conditioning and make this type of rolling — in addition to his skill in the pick and pop — a consistent part of his game going into next season, he could be ready for at the very least significant minutes off of the bench for the Lakers.
Whether or not that happens will also depend on the outcomes of free agency and the draft, as well as how training camp goes. But with a little bit of luck and hard work, Bryant could be in for a bigger role next season.