Wizards coach Scott Brooks looks at Thomas Bryant as exemplary piece of the puzzle
The Washington Wizards landed on a gold mine at the time they picked up Thomas Bryant off the waiver wire. Bryant had spent most of his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers, but was claimed by the Wizards, soon taking up the opportunity to back up Dwight Howard as head coach Scott Brooks had planned due to an injury to Ian Mahinmi.
Now with Howard out of town and Mahinmi once again dealing with a long-term injury, Bryant’s role is all the more important as the only true center in the roster, one they locked up for a three-year, $40 million deal in the summer. Brooks is a major fan:
“He’s exactly what we talk about as a Wizards player,” said Brooks, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “He wants to get better every day. He’s coachable; he plays with enthusiasm and passion.”
“His effort, his energy, his love, his passion, his smile, everything about him I love. I just love his enthusiasm. He’s always coming in with a great attitude and it’s hard. Everybody has bad days, down days, stuff going on [but] he doesn’t let it affect him in our facility, and that’s what we want to have a whole entire team like that, and I think we’re there.”
Thomas isn’t the biggest center, or the strongest, but he is often the most willing. He’s willing to scrap for loose balls, battle for position, and put his body on the line for the benefit of the team. Bryant wasn’t lined up to be a starter, but his contagious effort and work ethic have landed him that gig in Washington, and he’s excited for the challenge:
“Everybody’s built different. Sometimes people get it quicker than others, and sometimes they get it slower than others,” said Bryant. “Being a person they can look to and say, ‘That guy has come to where he was to now,’ I’ll take that with pride.”
The Wizards are trying to rebuild their brand around a blue-collar-type of style, and as Brooks said above, not many embody that sentiment better than Thomas Bryant.