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Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard

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

Post#341 » by nate33 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:19 pm

Every time I get into one of these Bryant debates and I start looking up the numbers, I am repeatedly amazed at how good he was. And then I watch him in those training videos and see how smoothly and quickly he is getting off that perimeter shot and I really start to wonder if we don't have something very special on our hands. The guy is an elite pick-and-roll finisher and he may be rounding into an extremely good pick-and-pop player as well. And he is already a pretty good passer who never turns the ball over - at age 21 with only 1500 minutes under his belt.

Going back to what Doc has been discussing in the other thread about the long term strategy, I wonder if the plan is to feature Bryant more... a lot more. Seriously, why not? He might well be one of the best offensive centers in the NBA if that pick-and-pop game improves enough that he can shoot 35% from 3-point range. He'll be like a hybrid of Horford's pick-and-pop skill with Capella's rolling ability. And now that Beal has become so deadly as a ball-handler and finisher in the lane (legitimately a top 3 guard finishing at the rim), that Beal/Bryant high screen game is going to be a nightmare to defend. It should work really well with Isaiah Thomas running it too, assuming Thomas is healthy. Bertans and Miles on the wings provide floor spacing.

Thomas has work to do in setting better screens, and his defense needs to get better, but I see no reason why he can't improve on both fronts. He certainly has the big body and quick feet to set good screens, the huge wingspan to be a rim protector, and the work ethic to put it all together.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#342 » by gtn130 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:29 pm

Ok, JJJ is significantly more valuable than Thomas Bryant and has far more upside. JJJ is only 19, and just had a rookie year that compares pretty favorably to Chris Bosh's age 19 rookie season.

JJJ will be way better than Thomas Bryant, and it's laughable to think otherwise.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#343 » by gtn130 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:33 pm

payitforward wrote:JJJ has unlimited potential, no doubt about it. & he scored very efficiently (though nowhere near as efficiently as Bryant!). Unfortunately he fouled a whole whole lot, turned the ball over very frequently, & managed just over 6 total rebounds per 40 minutes. Overall, in other words, he was pretty terrible. Don't get me wrong, I think he has a shot to be absolutely tremendous! But he ain't that yet.


What is the point of saying this? He's 19 years old - significantly younger than Bryant. You know who also ain't that yet?

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

Post#344 » by nate33 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:39 pm

gtn130 wrote:Ok, JJJ is significantly more valuable than Thomas Bryant and has far more upside. JJJ is only 19, and just had a rookie year that compares pretty favorably to Chris Bosh's age 19 rookie season.

JJJ will be way better than Thomas Bryant, and it's laughable to think otherwise.

I won't quibble with the statement that JJJ has more upside than Bryant given his age. But it's hard for me to agree that JJJ is currently as good as Bryant. By nearly every statistical measure, Bryant was quite a bit better.

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

Post#345 » by dckingsfan » Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:58 pm

nate33 wrote:Every time I get into one of these Bryant debates and I start looking up the numbers, I am repeatedly amazed at how good he was. And then I watch him in those training videos and see how smoothly and quickly he is getting off that perimeter shot and I really start to wonder if we don't have something very special on our hands. The guy is an elite pick-and-roll finisher and he may be rounding into an extremely good pick-and-pop player as well. And he is already a pretty good passer who never turns the ball over - at age 21 with only 1500 minutes under his belt.

Going back to what Doc has been discussing in the other thread about the long term strategy, I wonder if the plan is to feature Bryant more... a lot more. Seriously, why not? He might well be one of the best offensive centers in the NBA if that pick-and-pop game improves enough that he can shoot 35% from 3-point range. He'll be like a hybrid of Horford's pick-and-pop skill with Capella's rolling ability. And now that Beal has become so deadly as a ball-handler and finisher in the lane (legitimately a top 3 guard finishing at the rim), that Beal/Bryant high screen game is going to be a nightmare to defend. It should work really well with Isaiah Thomas running it too, assuming Thomas is healthy. Bertans and Miles on the wings provide floor spacing.

Thomas has work to do in setting better screens, and his defense needs to get better, but I see no reason why he can't improve on both fronts. He certainly has the big body and quick feet to set good screens, the huge wingspan to be a rim protector, and the work ethic to put it all together.

I guess because he just kind of stuck in there it is easy to sleep on him.

But, he seems to have the skills. He seems to have the work ethic. And he is going to get the opportunity.

I also think he could be pretty special.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#346 » by I_Like_Dirt » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:33 pm

payitforward wrote:Actually, what you think is not that "Bryant is very good." What you think is that he is "at best a 10th man." You expressed yourself along those lines numerous times, right? But, you've never come out & said "I was very very wrong about Thomas Bryant," have you?


Save your sanctimony for when it's actually needed. I'm not sure where that might actually be but it isn't here.

As for being wrong about Bryant, he didn't move the needle this past season and he was 13th on the Wizards in mpg. I'm not sure how that's actually so far off from not moving the needle and 10th man. And me saying he's very good is effectively suggesting he's changing my mind. But you do you, I guess. :roll:

He's also shown some very good traits in general. He was absolutely phenomenal at finishing within 3 feet, shooting 82% on ~160 attempts or so. It's absolutely amazing. His potential range of the kind of player he might be is pretty wide at this point so I'm waiting to see more from him in general. It's his defense that's going to define whether he's a role player or a star and it could go either way at this point. I haven't seen anything to suggest he can't make that leap so far but there have been a lot of bigs who have struggled with that kind of transition no matter how hard they try. If he can't make the defensive leap, he's going to be more of a utility player, in certain respects very different but in others very similar to Jonas Valanciunas.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#347 » by nate33 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:01 pm

I_Like_Dirt wrote:If he can't make the defensive leap, he's going to be more of a utility player, in certain respects very different but in others very similar to Jonas Valanciunas.

I can see the Valanciunas comparison, but I think it underrates Bryant quite a bit. One big difference is that Bryant is a much better roll man with better hands. Valanciunas was a more polished post player, but that's a skill no longer utilized in today's game. Another big difference is that Valanciunas didn't show any real shooting range until about 6 years into his career. Bryant is a better 3-point shooter at age 21 than JV is today. Finally, Bryant is already a better defender than JV. JV had a substantially negative on/off differential in nearly every year of his career due to his bad defense. Bryant's on/off is already positive as a redshirt rookie. His defense may not be great, but it's not really a liability either.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#348 » by DCZards » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:21 pm

The other big difference between Valaciunas and Bryant is quickness and footspeed. Bryant's ability to motor up and down the floor is one of his major strengths.

At around 240 lbs, Bryant is at least 20 lbs lighter than Jonas...that makes a big difference when it comes to mobility and the ability to get after smaller players on the perimeter.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#349 » by gtn130 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:15 pm

nate33 wrote:
gtn130 wrote:Ok, JJJ is significantly more valuable than Thomas Bryant and has far more upside. JJJ is only 19, and just had a rookie year that compares pretty favorably to Chris Bosh's age 19 rookie season.

JJJ will be way better than Thomas Bryant, and it's laughable to think otherwise.

I won't quibble with the statement that JJJ has more upside than Bryant given his age. But it's hard for me to agree that JJJ is currently as good as Bryant. By nearly every statistical measure, Bryant was quite a bit better.

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Well, I didn't actually say JJJ is currently as good or better than Bryant - just that he's more valuable and will be better in the future.

To your point, though, I'm not sure I even agree that Bryant is currently as good or better than JJJ, and I think the numbers you're citing only tell one small part of the story - and this is fundamentally why I disagree with PIF so much.

Bryant and JJJ are not taking the same types of shots, not playing the same role, not asked to do the same things in ways that are particularly relevant to this conversation. I've made the point a few time about Clint Capella's efficiency numbers being both great and not all that valuable because his role offensively is just very limited.

Some evidence of how this plays out:

% of shots taken with zero dribbles:
Bryant - 79%
JJJ - 51%

% of shots in which the player held the ball for 0-2 seconds
Bryant - 86%
JJJ - 61%

Based on this information, who do we think is more frequently taking easy shots? The answer should be obvious, and when you factor in that JJJ has far more defensive upside, is three years younger, and the #4 pick in the draft, there simply is not a viable argument that JJJ and Bryant are in the same class of prospect.

This is why sorting by bref even when talking *only* about offense isn't entirely adequate. Eye test and context matter, and if they didn't then NBA teams wouldn't have scouting departments.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#350 » by gtn130 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:16 pm

The fact that nearly 80% of TB's shots came without him taking a single dribble should pretty much end the idea that his bref numbers speak for themselves
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#351 » by I_Like_Dirt » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:26 pm

DCZards wrote:The other big difference between Valaciunas and Bryant is quickness and footspeed. Bryant's ability to motor up and down the floor is one of his major strengths.

At around 240 lbs, Bryant is at least 20 lbs lighter than Jonas...that makes a big difference when it comes to mobility and the ability to get after smaller players on the perimeter.




It might. Like I said, there are definitely differences there, too. It's his defense that's going to define whether he has star potential or not in all likelihood. If he doesn't figure that out, he's likely trapped not totally unlike Valanciunas as an offensive dynamo who winds up being attacked when he's on the floor to the point where he's a situation player. If he figures out the defensive side of the ball, his potential is top notch.

The other path for him to do that is to develop more significant handle of sorts and an ability to do things off the dribble. He could do that, too, though that strikes me as less likely than his defense and defense is generally the more important part of the game for him.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#352 » by I_Like_Dirt » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:35 pm

nate33 wrote:I can see the Valanciunas comparison, but I think it underrates Bryant quite a bit. One big difference is that Bryant is a much better roll man with better hands. Valanciunas was a more polished post player, but that's a skill no longer utilized in today's game. Another big difference is that Valanciunas didn't show any real shooting range until about 6 years into his career. Bryant is a better 3-point shooter at age 21 than JV is today. Finally, Bryant is already a better defender than JV. JV had a substantially negative on/off differential in nearly every year of his career due to his bad defense. Bryant's on/off is already positive as a redshirt rookie. His defense may not be great, but it's not really a liability either.


You might want to take a closer look at JV's numbers. Opposing offenses were basically equal with him on or off as a rookie. His second season, he was a bit of a negative on defense but not a devastating one. His third season he was back to being roughly neutral. He was gradually exposed more over time as the league evolved and the team tried to rely on him in bigger roles but never quite figured out how. The negatives he saw in terms of overall net +/- have a lot to do with the Raptors' benches having distortedly high +s during those same stretches while Valanciunas was basically attached at the hip to Demar Derozan because Derozan needed someone to set screens for him. Beyond that, reading too much into that individually is a bit dangerous overall. I don't actually think Bryant has the same weaknesses defensively that Valanciunas does, but they play out with similar results regardless. Bryant may wind up being a much better defender than Valanciunas as he develops but I wouldn't crown him as better just yet.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#353 » by nate33 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:23 pm

gtn130 wrote:The fact that nearly 80% of TB's shots came without him taking a single dribble should pretty much end the idea that his bref numbers speak for themselves

I think you have a point that creating shots off the drill is a valuable skill, but I also think you are too quick to dismiss Bryant's skill in being an effective pick-and-roll finisher and pick-and-pop shooter. He scored at respectable volume last year. We're not talking about DeAndre Jordan/Kevon Looney/Jarrett Allen type of scorer who can only get you 12-15 points per 36 minutes on purely opportunistic situations. Bryant averaged 18 points per 36 minutes. That's more than in any season of Marcin Gortat's career, for example. And he did it without a real pick-and-roll PG.

For all of JJJ's off-the-bounce scoring ability, he only averaged 26.2 points per 100 possessions to Bryant's 24 points per 100. And when you factor JJJ's significantly lower shooting efficiency and much higher turnover rate, it's hard to argue he was anywhere near as effective of a scorer.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#354 » by gtn130 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:07 pm

nate33 wrote:
gtn130 wrote:The fact that nearly 80% of TB's shots came without him taking a single dribble should pretty much end the idea that his bref numbers speak for themselves

I think you have a point that creating shots off the drill is a valuable skill, but I also think you are too quick to dismiss Bryant's skill in being an effective pick-and-roll finisher and pick-and-pop shooter. He scored at respectable volume last year. We're not talking about DeAndre Jordan/Kevon Looney/Jarrett Allen type of scorer who can only get you 12-15 points per 36 minutes on purely opportunistic situations. Bryant averaged 18 points per 36 minutes. That's more than in any season of Marcin Gortat's career, for example. And he did it without a real pick-and-roll PG.

For all of JJJ's off-the-bounce scoring ability, he only averaged 26.2 points per 100 possessions to Bryant's 24 points per 100. And when you factor JJJ's significantly lower shooting efficiency and much higher turnover rate, it's hard to argue he was anywhere near as effective of a scorer.


Here are the top 50 guys in 0 dribble shot frequency

Literally zero guys on this list matter offensively. None of these guys are featured offensively on their team or would be considered good offensive players who make an impact on that end of the court.

The median outcome for TB is he's Clint Capella offensively with a 34% 3pt shot on low volume (Embiid territory) and significantly worse defense. What is that worth in 2019?
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#355 » by gtn130 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:28 pm

Here is a list of centers who I'd say are definite offensive difference makers who will be on the court almost regardless of their defensive capabilities:

0 Dribble Shot Frequency
KAT - 52%
Jokic - 51%
Anthony Davis - 49%
Joel Embiid - 46%
Al Horford - 68%
Kristaps Porzingis - 64% (2017-18)
DeMarcus Cousin - 46% (2016-17)

-----

Thomas Bryant - 79%

Again, Thomas Bryant is not the same as these guys. He's not doing *nearly* as much as they are offensively, and the shots he's taking are *significantly* easier. Looking at his bref numbers and concluding he's roughly on their trajectory offensively is not a complete or accurate assessment, and we haven't even really addressed shot creation for others or defense - and his defense is quite bad.

I maintain that TB is basically going to be the bad defensive version of Clint Capella + a better 3pt shot. He is far more comparable offensively to Capella than any of the guys in that list.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#356 » by nate33 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:06 pm

gtn130 wrote:
nate33 wrote:
gtn130 wrote:The fact that nearly 80% of TB's shots came without him taking a single dribble should pretty much end the idea that his bref numbers speak for themselves

I think you have a point that creating shots off the drill is a valuable skill, but I also think you are too quick to dismiss Bryant's skill in being an effective pick-and-roll finisher and pick-and-pop shooter. He scored at respectable volume last year. We're not talking about DeAndre Jordan/Kevon Looney/Jarrett Allen type of scorer who can only get you 12-15 points per 36 minutes on purely opportunistic situations. Bryant averaged 18 points per 36 minutes. That's more than in any season of Marcin Gortat's career, for example. And he did it without a real pick-and-roll PG.

For all of JJJ's off-the-bounce scoring ability, he only averaged 26.2 points per 100 possessions to Bryant's 24 points per 100. And when you factor JJJ's significantly lower shooting efficiency and much higher turnover rate, it's hard to argue he was anywhere near as effective of a scorer.


Here are the top 50 guys in 0 dribble shot frequency

Literally zero guys on this list matter offensively. None of these guys are featured offensively on their team or would be considered good offensive players who make an impact on that end of the court.

The median outcome for TB is he's Clint Capella offensively with a 34% 3pt shot on low volume (Embiid territory) and significantly worse defense. What is that worth in 2019?

That's a compelling argument gtn130. Players with such a high percentage of shots without dribbles do not become top tier scorers. That said, it's worth nothing that Bryant's 79% number isn't in the same tier as pure finishers like Chandler, Jordan and Gobert. When those guys were in their early 20's, they had numbers in the high 80's and low 90's. I think this year, Bryant will get that 79% number down to around 70-72%. That puts him closer to guys like Horford, Turner, Sabonis and Favors. While those guys certainly aren't featured scorers (very few big men are), they're effective scorers with enough gravity to allow primary scorers like Beal and Wall to thrive.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#357 » by DCZards » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:20 pm

Does it really matter whether or not Bryant is scoring off the dribble as long as he's scoring...and with efficiency. I like big men who recognize their limitations and don't try to do things they're not capable of...like handling the ball and trying to score off the dribble.

However, I do expect Bryant to get better at that aspect of his game as well.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#358 » by gtn130 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:25 pm

DCZards wrote:Does it really matter whether or not Bryant is scoring off the dribble as long as he's scoring...and with efficiency. I like big men who recognize their limitations and don't try to do things they're not capable of...like handling the ball and trying to score off the dribble.

However, I do expect Bryant to get better at that aspect of his game as well.


Is Joe Harris a better 3pt shooter than Steph Curry?
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#359 » by payitforward » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:27 pm

gtn130 wrote:Ok, JJJ is significantly more valuable than Thomas Bryant and has far more upside. JJJ is only 19, and just had a rookie year that compares pretty favorably to Chris Bosh's age 19 rookie season.

JJJ will be way better than Thomas Bryant, and it's laughable to think otherwise.

Oh, no one doubts JJJ's upside, potential, potential development. He's a phenom. I can't imagine thinking otherwise.

But, how good one guy may (or probably will) turn out to be has no bearing whatever on how good another guy will or can be! Above all, it is obviously irrelevant to any comparison between what they did in one particular season.
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Re: Seismic Shift in the East: Thomas Bryant a Wizard 

Post#360 » by payitforward » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:29 pm

gtn130 wrote:
payitforward wrote:JJJ has unlimited potential, no doubt about it. & he scored very efficiently (though nowhere near as efficiently as Bryant!). Unfortunately he fouled a whole whole lot, turned the ball over very frequently, & managed just over 6 total rebounds per 40 minutes. Overall, in other words, he was pretty terrible. Don't get me wrong, I think he has a shot to be absolutely tremendous! But he ain't that yet.


What is the point of saying this? He's 19 years old - significantly younger than Bryant. You know who also ain't that yet?

Spoiler:
Thomas Bryant

Sorry, but Thomas Bryant was just exactly that: in 1500 minutes last year, he was "absolutely tremendous."
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