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Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard

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Re: Thomas Bryant 

Post#241 » by Ruzious » Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:02 pm

gtn130 wrote:I guess I'm the only person on this board who isn't that excited about Thomas Bryant. Centers in general aren't that valuable today, and Bryant has a long way to go defensively. I don't see the value in bigs who can't defend when you can alternatively play a smaller lineup with a more skilled offensive player who won't be outsized in 90% of matchups.

I'll buy that when you show me an example of a more skilled player who's 21 now and last season played significant minutes and had per 36 minutes averages of 18.2 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 2.2 assists/1.4 to's, had a TS% of freaking .674... and a PER of 21.0. And he's got a wingspan of 7'6 - he's going to become an at least adequate rim defender. Put it this way - Brooke Lopez was effective last season for the Bucks defensively, and Bryant has the ability to become a better defender than him. Otoh, we don't have someone like Giannis playing next to Bryant - at this point.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Wizards claim Thomas Bryant off waivers 

Post#242 » by payitforward » Wed Jul 24, 2019 4:09 pm

gtn130 wrote:I guess I'm the only person on this board who isn't that excited about Thomas Bryant. Centers in general aren't that valuable today, and Bryant has a long way to go defensively. I don't see the value in bigs who can't defend when you can alternatively play a smaller lineup with a more skilled offensive player who won't be outsized in 90% of matchups.

Oh, you're not alone. How about this:
I_Like_Dirt wrote:The issue with Thomas Bryant isn't his size. Honestly, being a little lighter helps more than it hurts. He just doesn't see the game fast enough and isn't skilled enough by NBA standards. I hope he turns out, and he still might, but even if he does turn out, we're talking maybe 10th man or something.

We have to assume that is still I_Like_Dirt's analysis of Thomas Bryant, since he has never said he was incorrect, modified it even slightly, laughed at his own mistake, or... nothing.

So, no, you're not alone. You're just wrong.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#243 » by gtn130 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 4:38 pm

Is Clint Capella also "skilled" because he has a good TS%? What is Clint Capella's value today? He isn't very movable on his contract. Look at the contract Thomas Bryant just signed and tell me he's a premium asset. There wasn't a huge market for him, and I'm guessing it's because of the reasons I stated - centers aren't worth much unless they can switch and guard other positions, or if they're particularly dominant offensively to mitigate their defensive limitations (Jokic, KAT).

It's cool that the Wizards found a rotation NBA player from the trash heap, but people are losing their minds in thinking Bryant will be more than that.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#244 » by payitforward » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:35 am

Last year, Clint Capela put up 20 points every 40 minutes at a TS% clip of 65.8%, while grabbing over 15 rebounds & turning it over @1.7 times. You don't think he helped win a lot of games? You think there's some angle from which you can make those numbers irrelevant? You don't think he was a valuable player? Sorry, you're the one losing your mind.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#245 » by gtn130 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:16 am

payitforward wrote:Last year, Clint Capela put up 20 points every 40 minutes at a TS% clip of 65.8%, while grabbing over 15 rebounds & turning it over @1.7 times. You don't think he helped win a lot of games? You think there's some angle from which you can make those numbers irrelevant? You don't think he was a valuable player? Sorry, you're the one losing your mind.


Of course he's a valuable player. He's also way better than Thomas Bryant. The point I was trying to make is that the idealized version of Thomas Bryant isn't even that valuable in 2019 NBA.

Wizards fans appear to be so broken by Ernie Grunfeld that any vaguely positive transaction on the fringes is turned into a franchise-altering move. TB was a great acquisition for being a D-Leaguer. Terrific move. One of EG's best. Unfortunately he doesn't really matter because he's not that good. He's fine and is definitely an NBA player, but he shouldn't be starting for any playoff team.

3 years / $25 million. This was not a robust market for a 21 year old free agent center.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#246 » by gtn130 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:31 am

Also the Brook Lopez comp is not a good one. Lopez is a terrific shooter and has been since he entered league, though he only extended to 3pt range a few seasons ago. Thomas Bryant occasionally hitting a wide open 3 at 33% is simply not the same as Brook Lopez hitting 2.3 per night at 36.5% when those shots are much more contested for Lopez.

Bryant as a shooter is much more analogous to Joel Embiid. They can both shoot the 3. They are not dangerous from 3 and they do not create space. This nuance matters a ton.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#247 » by doclinkin » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:24 am

gtn130 wrote:Also the Brook Lopez comp is not a good one. Lopez is a terrific shooter and has been since he entered league, though he only extended to 3pt range a few seasons ago. Thomas Bryant occasionally hitting a wide open 3 at 33% is simply not the same as Brook Lopez hitting 2.3 per night at 36.5% when those shots are much more contested for Lopez.

Bryant as a shooter is much more analogous to Joel Embiid. They can both shoot the 3. They are not dangerous from 3 and they do not create space. This nuance matters a ton.


The primary statistical difference between the 21 year old Lopez in his 2nd year and the 21 year old Bryant is that three point shot. In every other stat category they are remarkably similar on a per possession basis. But that shot makes all the difference.

You are right that Lopez only started taking those shots three years ago. In fact Bryant took three times as many 3pt shots this year as Brook did in his first 7 years in the league combined. And in those seven years Brook hit exactly 1 shot.

A 2nd year player is an unfinished, unknown entity. Bigs develop slowly. Bryant hasn’t yet played as many minutes as Brook did immediately in his first year in the league. Of course Bryant is not yet as good as Brook. Brook was a high draft pick playing heavy minutes immediately for a losing team. He’s ten years into his career. What Wiz fans are hopeful about is that in his limited minutes Bryant has shown signs of being a solid player very early. A better scorer and rebounder than that 21 year old Brook. With better hands. Few TOS.

This year our front office added three 3pt shooting Bigs. According to our new GM Scotty was involved in the decisions. With the success of players like Lopez and other three point shooting Bigs, you have to assume that’s a point of emphasis. Looking at footage of Bryant in summer play his shot is ready and smooth. He’s been working on that not just in standalone work in the gym. But in game time action.

Yes his defense needs to improve. The same can be said about every player on our roster, but Bigs especially need to be reliable underneath. He has room to improve, reports say he’s a hard working player, no doubt he’ll learn as he goes. Defensive awareness is the one area that steadily develops in players careers. You can’t not get better on defense if you keep playing. Lateral movement is the one area you’d want him to work on. He’s got a training staff who will work with him on that. Pick and Roll defense is the aspect of the game that determines if Bigs play or sit. You have to assume he knows it.

However offensively Bryant is ahead of the game for a young center. He’s a frontcourt player not a ball handler so he’s pass dependent. He will only get numbers if you get him the ball. But what other second year true Center hits a third of his shots from outside? He will be a useful player in the pick and pop once we have a PG who is worth anything.

It’s a nice sign that IT was finding him with the ball for three point makes in summer play. If he makes that third year jump that young players do then he’s going to hit a lot of those shots this year.

And down low he’s stuffing in close to 70% of his shots and not turning the ball over ever. If he can maintain that (.685 from 2) with increased usage, that’s a game changing stat. Get him the damn ball. Find out. If so then you have one answer for small ball. Teams would have to hit what, 46% from outside to equal that level of production? Did I math?

Every team would have to be Golden State on a hot streak to overcome that. We would just have to rebound and boom. Wins. Bigs reclaim the game.

Unlikely. Yes. But if you can force teams to adjust to you and commit resources to guard him then it does free up your outside game for players like Bertans and Beal. He’s a nice player. Young. Hard working. Already useful. And getting better quickly.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#248 » by doclinkin » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:57 am

Put this way. If Bryant is hitting 70% underneath. And Hachimura hits 60% with his midrange game as he did in college. And Bertans hits 40% from three as he did last year.

Then there’s options if a team loads up to stop Beal.

You just need a guard who can see which one is most open and get him the ball.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#249 » by gtn130 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:49 pm

Being remarkably similar on a per possession basis simply doesn't matter when you consider the quality and difficulty of shots.

Brook Lopez spent long stretches of his career being a primary scorer for his team - that is going to impact his efficiency. He's a guy with a reputation as a shooter, and players guard him with that in mind. That's why I bring up Embiid as a better *shooting* comp for Thomas Bryant because neither player actually creates space the way Lopez does. Yes, he can make 33% of *wide open* 3s - that doesn't mean he's a great shooter or someone for defenses to key on, and ultimately that's what matters.

It's like saying Jae Crowder and Klay Thompson are comparable shooters because of their shooting numbers. Thompson is obviously a far better shooter when taking into consideration the quality of looks he's getting and the difficulty level of shots he's making. Jae Crowder is capable of hitting a couple wide open corner 3s a game. That has far, far less value even though the statistical result makes those things *appear* similar.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#250 » by gtn130 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:01 pm

I will say this again since it doesn't appear to have hit home yet, but 3pt shooting centers are wildly overrated in a league that doesn't punish anyone for lack of size.

The alternative to a 3pt shooting center is a 3pt shooting wing who is far more versatile on both ends of the court. I can see an argument that the meta will change with Golden State no longer being a juggernaut, and a massive team like Philly ascending through the pecking order, but that hasn't actually happened yet, and it's not clear that Philly will dominate anyone offensively *because* of their size.

Teams are all running four-out spread PNR. There is no Shaq in this league, and the dominant team of this era features a "center" who is 6'7.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#251 » by Ruzious » Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:01 pm

gtn130 wrote:Also the Brook Lopez comp is not a good one. Lopez is a terrific shooter and has been since he entered league, though he only extended to 3pt range a few seasons ago. Thomas Bryant occasionally hitting a wide open 3 at 33% is simply not the same as Brook Lopez hitting 2.3 per night at 36.5% when those shots are much more contested for Lopez.

Bryant as a shooter is much more analogous to Joel Embiid. They can both shoot the 3. They are not dangerous from 3 and they do not create space. This nuance matters a ton.

The only reason I brought up Lopez - which I thought I was clear on - was for defense. Lopez was thought to be hopeless on defense by... everyone. And everyone turned out to be wrong when Budenholzer got a hold of him. Bryant has somewhat similar defensive issues that Lopez had but to a bit lesser extent. And fwiw, Lopez was not a 3 point shooting threat until later in his career. Bryant has an exceptional shooting touch and could end up being in the same class as a 3 point shooter that Lopez became.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#252 » by Ruzious » Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:09 pm

gtn130 wrote:I will say this again since it doesn't appear to have hit home yet, but 3pt shooting centers are wildly overrated in a league that doesn't punish anyone for lack of size.

The alternative to a 3pt shooting center is a 3pt shooting wing who is far more versatile on both ends of the court. I can see an argument that the meta will change with Golden State no longer being a juggernaut, and a massive team like Philly ascending through the pecking order, but that hasn't actually happened yet, and it's not clear that Philly will dominate anyone offensively *because* of their size.

Teams are all running four-out spread PNR. There is no Shaq in this league, and the dominant team of this era features a "center" who is 6'7.

Lol, Green is the exception to a lot of rules, and GS has had 3 future HOFers playing with him (with 2 of them being arguably top 10 of all time) - not to mention Iguodola coming off the bench.

The Celtics would have been nothing the last few seasons without Horford. Not sure how you could argue that him being a 3 point threat hasn't been a huge plus for Boston or that the acquisition of Lopez wasn't a huge plus for Milwaukee. Watch how Boston plays this season.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#253 » by gtn130 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:27 pm

Ruzious wrote:Lol, Green is the exception to a lot of rules


Of course. So is Shaq.

Ruzious wrote:GS has had 3 future HOFers playing with him (with 2 of them being arguably top 10 of all time) - not to mention Iguodola coming off the bench.


Yeah, I mean, do you have a point here? I bring up Golden State because they set the meta for the league. Everyone built their rosters around emulating and/or countering Golden State, so nobody is playing with two bigs in their lineups anymore or massive, plodding centers who can overpower smaller/weaker defenders.

Ruzious wrote:The Celtics would have been nothing the last few seasons without Horford. Not sure how you could argue that him being a 3 point threat hasn't been a huge plus for Boston


It hasn't. Al Horford is a fantastic player, but it's not because he's a lights out 3pt shooter. Boston will be far worse without him and it's because he's a superb playmaker and all around player. Ask yourself: how often is Boston running plays to set up Horford 3s? How many Horford 3s are wide open? A Horford 3 was like the 10th option on offense for Boston, which is why it was always pretty open.

But don't take my word for it - just look at average defender distance across the league. Not many centers taking heavily contested jump shots.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#254 » by Ruzious » Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:39 pm

gtn130 wrote:
Ruzious wrote:Lol, Green is the exception to a lot of rules


Of course. So is Shaq.

Ruzious wrote:GS has had 3 future HOFers playing with him (with 2 of them being arguably top 10 of all time) - not to mention Iguodola coming off the bench.


Yeah, I mean, do you have a point here? I bring up Golden State because they set the meta for the league. Everyone built their rosters around emulating and/or countering Golden State, so nobody is playing with two bigs in their lineups anymore or massive, plodding centers who can overpower smaller/weaker defenders.

Lol, seriousrly? Firstly, you brought up both Green and Shaq - not me. Secondly, I think my point was clear and obvious yet again. You brought up Green as if he's proof that a 6'7 center is the way to go, and I pointed out that he had a ridiculously talented group around him and that he's a rather unique player.

Ruzious wrote:The Celtics would have been nothing the last few seasons without Horford. Not sure how you could argue that him being a 3 point threat hasn't been a huge plus for Boston


gtn wrote:It hasn't. Al Horford is a fantastic player, but it's not because he's a lights out 3pt shooter. Boston will be far worse without him and it's because he's a superb playmaker and all around player. Ask yourself: how often is Boston running plays to set up Horford 3s? How many Horford 3s are wide open? A Horford 3 was like the 10th option on offense for Boston, which is why it was always pretty open.

But don't take my word for it - just look at average defender distance across the league. Not many centers taking heavily contested jump shots.

Valid points about Horford's all-around ability, but... his ability to hit 3's was invaluable to the Celtics because he stretched defenses - something that was absolutely needed on that team because the rest of the team was very inconsistent at that. That ability benefited every other player on the team.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#255 » by doclinkin » Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:20 pm

The W's may have been the vogue for the past few seasons, but take note of what happened in the playoffs on our side of the country. In the East the Raptors won by leaning heavily on Marc Gasol after a mid-season trade to get rid of their low-post only Bg. Gasol was on his way out of the league until he added a three point shooting shot to his game and slimmed up.

The Raptors had to go through the Bucks who only took off and found room for Giannis to do what he does when they acquired Brook and gave him the greenlight to shoot. In Philly you cite Embiid who does own an outside shot but as you say doesn't show it enough to give Simmons room to operate so they stumbled.

In Orlando they are doubling down on Bigs. Indy re-upped Sabonis to play next to big Myles. And out West you are seeing contenders in Portland and Utah and Denver go large up front, to say nothing of LA. High percentage scoring and skilled inside bigs who can show a little more than mere beef are stealthily crucial nowadays.

Yes, you can't play an immobile big who doesn't shoot. And the market on useful bigs is currently depressed by the fetish for multi-tool Wings. But winning teams are snatching up big bodies and playing them. The enthusiasm for Bryant is that we picked up a guy off the scrap heap who has proven to score efficiently, is improving swiftly, and shown flashes of skills that if he continues to improve may make him a keystone player like Brook, only perhaps sooner than a 10 year wait.

Yes he figures to get more touches as a starting center this year. It remains to be seen if his percentages drop with usage. But there are hopeful signs. He's fast up and down the court, good hands catching and finishing in motion and shows an outside shot. On offense he's ahead of where you might expect, we just need to see if we can live with his defense to get what he gives us on the other end. Or if he can make long strides to improve on that end. Fortuantely "long strides' seem to be part of his game.

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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#256 » by gtn130 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:39 pm

Ruzious, you still don't understand my point about Golden State (and the 3pt shot and switching defenses) dictating what everyone else in the league is doing. Draymond and Steph being outliers is literally why they're so good and why other teams are behaving differently and building rosters differently - it's the entire point.

I mentioned Shaq because he was also an outlier who dictated the makeup of the league. This is the entire point that you do not understand. Pay attention now because I'm going to say it again for the third time.

Typical centers are not all that valuable in a league that doesn't punish teams for lack of size. Even prototypical modern era rim-running centers like Capela aren't super valuable (although they are still valuable). Wings and guards are generally better and more skilled players, they're just smaller, which is a weakness that isn't being exploited very often. This is the part you need to understand because it's a big reason why Thomas Bryants is only making $8m a year.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#257 » by DCZards » Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:48 pm

Thomas Bryant is not a typical center or traditional big, primarily because of his ability to get up and down the court and his rapidly improving 3pt shooting.

It will be interesting to see if Bryant can use his mobility and footspeed to become an above average defender. Someone capable of getting after smaller guys on the perimeter. He certainly has the length and the A+ effort on his side.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#258 » by payitforward » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:27 pm

gtn130 wrote:
payitforward wrote:Last year, Clint Capela put up 20 points every 40 minutes at a TS% clip of 65.8%, while grabbing over 15 rebounds & turning it over @1.7 times. You don't think he helped win a lot of games? You think there's some angle from which you can make those numbers irrelevant? You don't think he was a valuable player? Sorry, you're the one losing your mind.

Of course he's a valuable player. He's also way better than Thomas Bryant. The point I was trying to make is that the idealized version of Thomas Bryant isn't even that valuable in 2019 NBA.

Way better? What would make you think so? But, wait... of course Capela is better now! He's played 5 times the minutes Bryant has played. But, he wasn't "way" better.

It's interesting how similar their histories are: Both Capela & Bryant were drafted too low for how good they are. Both of them entered the league at 20 years old. They played 90 & 72 minutes respectively as rookies.

They each played just under 1500 minutes their 2d year & were both already quite good. But Capela's 2d year was not nearly as productive as Bryant's. Mainly because of his one real flaw: he is terrible from the FT line. & he gets there a lot, so it makes a difference.

Which leads to a key point -- despite similar histories they are very different players (which suffices to make your using Capela to prove anything about Bryant fairly ridiculous). Bryant is an excellent FT shooter & already shoots the 3 at a respectable level, which we should certainly expect to improve.

gtn130 wrote:...Wizards fans appear to be so broken by Ernie Grunfeld that any vaguely positive transaction on the fringes is turned into a franchise-altering move. TB was a great acquisition for being a D-Leaguer. Terrific move. One of EG's best. Unfortunately he doesn't really matter because he's not that good. He's fine and is definitely an NBA player, but he shouldn't be starting for any playoff team....

This is just really foolish nonsense. For starters, it seems to have been Tommy Sheppard's acquisition not Ernie's. But, above all, how anyone can say that a guy who put up numbers like Bryant's at 21 years old is "not that good," I don't know.

Are you saying that he won't put up those kind of numbers (or better) again? As a 22-year old? Last season was a fluke? I guess that could be.... but how would you know?

Or are you really trying to maintain that scoring 20+ points per 40 minutes at a 67.4% TS% while bagging a lot of defensive rebounds, a lot of offensive rebounds, and being well above average in everything else you do (at 21 years old mind you!) really isn't anything particularly special?

Is that what you're saying? Because, if it is, well... sorry: you have no idea what you're talking about!

gtn130 wrote:...3 years / $25 million. This was not a robust market for a 21 year old free agent center.

Uh huh. A R2 pick Center plays 1500 minutes & gets signed to a guaranteed $8m+ a year for 3 years. What's the big deal about that?

Tell you what -- why don't you find me another example of something on that order? Only... you can't, can you?
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#259 » by gtn130 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:47 pm

PIF, is 3 years / $25 million fair market value for Bryant or not?

If it's not, explain why the entire league missed on him. If it is fair value, then we agree that he's a low-end rotation player with *some* upside but not a ton.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#260 » by payitforward » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:54 pm

gtn130 wrote:Being remarkably similar on a per possession basis simply doesn't matter when you consider the quality and difficulty of shots.

Brook Lopez spent long stretches of his career being a primary scorer for his team - that is going to impact his efficiency. He's a guy with a reputation as a shooter, and players guard him with that in mind. That's why I bring up Embiid as a better *shooting* comp for Thomas Bryant because neither player actually creates space the way Lopez does. Yes, he can make 33% of *wide open* 3s - that doesn't mean he's a great shooter or someone for defenses to key on, and ultimately that's what matters.

It's like saying Jae Crowder and Klay Thompson are comparable shooters because of their shooting numbers. Thompson is obviously a far better shooter when taking into consideration the quality of looks he's getting and the difficulty level of shots he's making. Jae Crowder is capable of hitting a couple wide open corner 3s a game. That has far, far less value even though the statistical result makes those things *appear* similar.

You're out of your gourd.

Just for starters, arguing against a straw man is silly: nobody said, or would say, that Jae Crowder can shoot the 3 as well as Klay Thompson.

I'm going to speculate that in your long life, you haven't seen Brook Lopez play 700 minutes of basketball. In his entire career, Brook Lopez has never had a season as good as Thomas Bryant's rookie year. Including last season.

He's become a good 3-point shooter, to be sure. Nice for him, as he'd be out of the league altogether if he lacked that skill. Yet, you do understand that shooting the 3 at 36.5% is equivalent to shooting the 2 at 54.8%, right?

Brook Lopez & Thomas Bryant took exactly the same number of shots per 40 minutes last year. Bryant took 1.4 more FTs last year than Lopez. Thomas Bryant scored 3 more points. Not only that, but he got almost 3 more of his missed FGAs back for his team than Lopez did (via offensive boards).

Brook Lopez is a veteran journeyman with a long & reasonably respectable career. Thomas Bryant is a young, rapidly-developing stud.

I'm done with this; it's too silly.
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