When Anthony Davis went down with a stress injury in his right foot about three weeks ago, it was clear the Los Angeles Lakers were in trouble.
They needed someone to step up and help replace not just the production but also the intensity, energy and presence he provided so well prior to his injury.
Enter Thomas Bryant.
He was already playing well in a backup role before Davis was sidelined, but starting with the Dec. 16 contest in which Davis got hurt, Bryant has been playing outstanding basketball.
During that span, he has averaged 17.2 points on an incredible 68.1 percent shooting and 10.2 rebounds in 29.4 minutes per game. Although he isn’t a high-volume 3-point shooter, he has helped space the floor by hitting 55.0 percent of his attempts from downtown.
In Saturday’s thrilling 136-134 victory over the Sacramento Kings, Bryant put up a season-high 29 points on 12-of-14 shooting, to go along with 14 rebounds.
His relentless activity on the boards, willingness to run the floor in transition and ability to get open and convert in the paint have propelled the Lakers to a five-game winning streak.
He could very well be turning into the best value signing of this past offseason, as he’s playing on a veteran minimum contract worth just over $1.8 million.