With the 42nd selection in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Thomas Bryant, a versatile big man from Indiana University. While much wasn’t expected out of the second-round pick, Bryant made a name for himself during the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League.
While Ivica Zubac received the bulk of the minutes at the center position, Bryant was able to flourish in his role off the bench, while still being an encouraging teammate. His demeanor and personality rub off a positive vibe, as he cheered on his teammates when they excelled. At the same time, Bryant contributed heavily while on the floor, protecting the rim with exciting blocks and finishing off buckets in the paint.
Bryant faces a tall task ahead of him, as he continues to prepare for his first training camp, attempting to stand out against the likes of Zubac, Brook Lopez, Julius Randle, and Larry Nance Jr. However, Bryant won’t let that stop him from bringing the same energy and encouragement every day, as he recently said on ‘The Popcorn Machine’ podcast:
“I always had that energy installed in me. Nobody ever had to put that in me, I know I always play the game with love and passion and I just love to run and get up and down the court, play defense, play offense, just be out there with the team.”
Bryant inked a deal with the Lakers in late July, with an opportunity to carve himself a piece of the pie during training camp. The 20-year-old also displayed his energy and defensive prowess during the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League, which is what his draft stock was built off of.
Many basketball aficionados state that exuding that much energy can be a negative, especially considering there are highs and lows with basketball. However, Bryant confidently stated that his maturity and desire to succeed are driving forces over his emotional output:
“I always try to give off that energy in a positive manner. Just being more mature about it. Giving it off to my teammates in a good amount equally to everybody out there on the court. The passion is just always going to be there, that’s just my thing and just running up and down the court that’s just my thing as well. To myself, I just never want to be tired out there on the court.”
After spending two seasons with the Hoosiers, Bryant elected to enter the 2017 NBA Draft, with his draft stock rising to noticeable heights. He posted averages of 12.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game, while shooting 59.2 percent from the field in 69 total games at Indiana.