LeBron James gives Thomas Bryant his flowers as he continues to impress amid Anthony Davis’ absence

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LeBron James gave LA Lakers backup big Thomas Bryant his flowers after he continued his dominant run in Anthony Davis’ absence. Bryant’s bagged 29 points and 14 rebounds during the Lakers’ 136-134 win over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.

Bryant was crucial down the stretch during that close contest. His rebounding and overall effort on both ends proved decisive, helping the Lakers secure their fifth win on the bounce. Here’s what James said about Bryant after the game (via Lakers Daily) :

“He’s taking full advantage of his opportunity. He’s a guy that plays really hard, knows how to play and is probably one of the most skilled big men in the game.”

LeBron on Thomas Bryant: “One of the most skilled bigs in this game. He catches everything. He finishes everything around the rim, but he also has a soft touch from the midrange and the 3-point line. And he just has a huge motor that’s always going on both sides of the floor.”

LeBron on Thomas Bryant: “One of the most skilled bigs in this game. He catches everything. He finishes everything around the rim, but he also has a soft touch from the midrange and the 3-point line. And he just has a huge motor that’s always going on both sides of the floor.”

Thomas Bryant has averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, shooting 68.1% from the field, including 55.0% from 3-point range in Anthony Davis’ absence over the last 13 games. The Lakers have surprisingly registered a winning record, going 8-5 during that stretch.

He has struck brilliant chemistry with the team’s primary playmakers in, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, akin to Davis. That’s been vital to the Lakers’ success as they have dominated the paint, even in AD’s absence.


LeBron James envisions a frontcourt trio of him, Anthony Davis and Thomas Bryant

Thomas Bryant’s emergence during Anthony Davis’ absence has been a blessing in disguise for the LA Lakers. The team desperately needs more size on their frontcourt. Darvin Ham had to play three and four-guard lineups earlier this season when AD was healthy.

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That puts tremendous pressure on LeBron James, who has played as a four for most of the season, and Davis to help the team dominate the boards. However, with Bryant’s ability to space the floor, rebound and defend efficiently on the perimeter, the Lakers could explore deploying a lineup featuring James, Bryant and Davis on the frontcourt.

James said after the win over the Kings that he envisions the frontcourt trio once AD returns.

“I’ve already had visions of what that frontcourt would look like with AD, myself and Thomas.”

LeBron: “I’ve already had visions of what that frontcourt would look like with AD, myself and Thomas.”

LeBron: “I’ve already had visions of what that frontcourt would look like with AD, myself and Thomas.”

The LA Lakers have explored trading for players like Myles Turner, who can space the floor and play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. However, Thomas Bryant’s rise allows them the luxury of holding onto their assets. There’s a decent sample size of how his skillset is compatible with the Lakers’ superstar duo.

It will be interesting to see if Darvin Ham alters his lineup and explores playing Bryant alongside LeBron and AD once the latter returns.

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