The Los Angeles Lakers recently brought some key elements back into their rotation, with Thomas Bryant and Dennis Schroder returning from thumb injuries.
Bryant, in particular, has given the Lakers a big boost in the last few games as they previously lacked size outside of Anthony Davis.
In his first two games back, Bryant averaged 11.5 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 81.8% from the field.
He’s scored most of his points with simple layups and dunks while his teammates set him up. Russell Westbrook has played a big part in that as he and Bryant picked up where they left off when they played together with the Washington Wizards in 2020-21.
Following the Lakers’ recent win over the San Antonio Spurs, Bryant spoke to Westbrook about his chemistry and how it’s helped him over the past few games.
“Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. The chemistry we had there for just that short time was really great and I tried to keep that chemistry going all summer when I was injured I still tried to communicate with him and get as much from him as possible to learn.”
Bryant added that Westbrook made sure to play fast, which led to easy buckets.
“He told me once, he said, ‘TB, get out there and run!’ That’s all he had to say,” Bryant said.
Westbrook agreed that playing fast is important, adding that he likes to reward his big men who run the court.
“Just walking. Every time I see my big boys and boys running, I like to reward them. I can make the game easy for them, especially guys like Thomas, Wenyen, whoever’s on the floor. I’m proud to make the guys around me better and I’m excited to see him come back and help him find his rhythm and play well.”
It’s only been two games since Bryant’s return, but he’s looking like a valuable piece off the bench for LA so far. The Lakers are sticking with Anthony Davis as the starting center, but they still need a backup who can perform on both ends of the floor, and Bryant has done that.
Bryant believes the role is still evolving
Although Bryant has been a good fit with Westbrook and others since returning to the action, he believes his role is still evolving.
“I think we’re still evolving,” Bryant added. “I think we all play a significant role in every game in some way. But I think we continue to grow as a team. Like you said it’s my second game back it is [Dennis Schroder’s] second game back too. The guys out here are getting really healthy right now so I think we’re on the right track I’d say.”
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