Thomas Bryant was a key pickup over the summer for the Lakers due to a versatile skillset at the 5 that fits well into today’s pace and space league. Unfortunately, his thumb injury during the preseason — an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of this thumb, the same injury and recovery as point guard Dennis Schroder — that required surgery set him back around roughly a month.
Considering Bryant only played in limited games last season due to an ACL surgery and recovery, and looked a bit rough around the edges physically at times during the preseason (a topic I made a video on at the time), it was natural to be weary of the type of shape, rhythm and confidence he might come back in after this layoff.
However, upon his return, any such concerns have quickly dissipated. He’s impacted the game in multiple ways and shown why he’s a great fit for this Lakers team and possesses a key profile they need.
Let’s go through the film:
Bryant’s impact at the five has brought more balance to the roster and allowed head coach Darvin Ham to play different lineup combinations around him, whether it’s with smaller lineups around him or Wenyen Gabriel providing another lengthy, high-energy presence with him. The next step might be how Bryant fits alongside Anthony Davis to take some of the wear and tear off him and slot him into the 4 role at times.
Bryant has been a pleasant surprise in how quickly he’s contributed, and the Lakers will certainly hope that trend continues.
Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own in-person and online sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA and partners with Quantum Performance in which he further combines his movement expertise and fitness training background to rehab & train elite athletes. He also works at a hospital — giving him experience with patients in the immediate healthcare setting and neurological patients (post stroke, post brain injury) — and has been practicing for over 5 years. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), has a background in youth basketball coaching and analyzes the Lakers from a medical and skills perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and on his own YouTube Channel. You can follow him on Twitter at @3cbPerformance.