Former Indiana Hoosier Thomas Bryant in line for expanded role?

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 13: Thomas Bryant
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 13: Thomas Bryant /

With the Lakers trading away Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., former Indiana Hoosier basketball player Thomas Bryant could be in line for minutes down the stretch run of the NBA season.

After Thomas Bryant was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 42nd pick during the 2017 NBA Draft, many Hoosier fans were excited. Yet another Indiana basketball player was going to be in the best basketball league on the planet. However, Bryant has been relegated to play for the Lakers G-League team, the South Bay Lakers for the majority of the season. With Thursday’s trade of Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, he could find his way into the Lakers rotation.

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During his two seasons with the Hoosiers, Bryant became a fan favorite for the fans of Indiana. In his freshman year, Bryant played 35 games, while averaging 22.6 minutes per game. Despite the limited minutes, he became a force around college, and more specifically, the Big Ten conference. After choosing to come back for his sophomore season, Bryant’s play dropped just enough to lower his draft stock.

Even after averaging 12.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists all while shooting 52-percent from the field, scouts were concerned on whether or not his skill set could transfer to the NBA.

One thing that scouts were certain on about Bryant, his god-given height was the prize in drafting him. Standing at 6’11”, and with a 7’6″ wingspan, Bryant has something that many players in the NBA have, the ability to block shots at a high rate.

Through 23 games with the South Bay Lakers, Bryant has displayed that ability admirably, averaging 1.4 blocks per game. While honing his craft down in the G-League, Bryant began to work on his three-point shot, something Indiana fans had a love-hate relationship with him during his time in the red-and-white stripes.

With the Lakers, Bryant’s three-point threat could become a new reality for the big man. Playing next to Lonzo Ball, and newly acquired guard Isaiah Thomas, Bryant will likely be used in plenty of pick-and-pop type situations.

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Plenty of former Hoosiers have showed that they belong in the NBA this season, namely Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, and Dallas Mavericks point guard Yogi Ferrell. Thomas Bryant has a chance to show the Lakers why he belongs in the core of the team moving forward.