The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2017 NBA Draft with three picks, but they exited with four thanks to a trade with the Utah Jazz. After selecting Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart with their first three selections, the Lakers used the 42nd overall pick to grab Indiana big man Thomas Bryant.
It was a nice move for the Lakers, as they dropped back two spots from the 28th pick to the 30th where they grabbed Hart, and also received the 42nd pick in the deal. Shams Charania of The Vertical broke the news that the Lakers were taking Bryant:
Sources: Lakers are selecting Indiana's Thomas Bryant with the No. 42 overall pick in the NBA Draft.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 23, 2017
Bryant, a sophomore, averaged 12.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks for Indiana last year while also hitting 38 percent from three, an impressive feat considering the fact that he’s a 6’10” center who weighs 245 pounds.
That said, perhaps the most impressive thing about Bryant is his wingspan, which is a ridiculous 7’6 inches and gives him a standing reach of almost 9’5″. To put that in perspective, Bryant can just about touch the rim without jumping. This length gives him upside as a rim protector, something the Lakers could sorely use.
Bryant won’t find playing time easy to come by with Brook Lopez, Ivica Zubac, and potentially Tarik Black all manning the middle for the Lakers, but as the 42nd pick he will be given time to develop, perhaps in the G-League. He’s something of a lumbering players, which isn’t really en vogue in the NBA right now, and given his physical profile he would have been selected much earlier 10 years ago. That said, rim protection is important, and if Bryant can also occasionally stretch the floor that will be the icing on the cake for the Lakers.