Washington Wizards: Thomas Bryant’s Breakout Season

Washington Wizards, Thomas Bryant (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards, Thomas Bryant (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Whether he’s in the starting lineup or coming off the bench, it doesn’t seem to matter. In just his second NBA season, Thomas Bryant has emerged as one of the Washington Wizards’ most reliable big men.

Thomas Bryant has averaged 9.7 PPG in his 60 appearances for the Washington Wizards this season.

Thomas Bryant came out of high school as a McDonald’s All-American and was a highly touted recruit before signing with the Indiana Hoosiers. Bryant then declared for the draft after an underwhelming sophomore campaign. He was drafted by the Utah Jazz and traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2017 NBA Draft. After a breakout campaign in the G-League, the Lakers decided they no longer needed his services and waived him.

His points per game average does not necessarily do Bryant justice. Bryant is shooting 62% from the field and has proven to be a catalyst for a Wizards team that has looked deflated at this times this year. Bryant was claimed off waivers in July and was not expected to be a significant contributor this season. After injuries to seemingly every frontcourt player on the roster, Bryant was sprung into an important role and has not relinquished that role since.

Bryant has been a bright note on an otherwise grim year for the Wizards. The players, specifically Bradley Beal, have been outspoken in vouching for the second-year player and his ability to influence the game. Bryant and Beal have developed a relationship off the court that has translated into fluidity and trust on the court. With Beal at the helm of the roster next season, all signs point to Bryant being a Wizard again next year.

The initial contract that Bryant signed with the Lakers in 2017 was a two-year deal worth about $2.19 million dollars. At the end of this season, Bryant will become a Restricted Free Agent so the Wizards will have the opportunity to retain him. At 21 years old and with a potential contract that shouldn’t stretch the budget of the front office too heavily, signing him to a short-term deal seems to be the obvious decision. A two-year deal would allow him to work on his offensive skill set a bit more and to further his physical development in order to aid him on the defensive side of the ball.

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At the end of the day, there is no telling what kind of role Thomas Bryant will have for the Wizards next season. Dwight Howard will likely be back next season, along with Ian Mahinmi still under contract until 2020. Regardless of the roster structure, Bryant has played himself into a position that he at least deserves a shot to prove he can continue to produce on a consistent level. Not to mention, it helps his case that Bradley Beal has taken a significant liking to him.