Wizards

Bryant is going to be a problem for opposing teams in his new role

Wizards

The Wizards appear to have the personnel to produce one of the best offenses in the NBA this season, with Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal the headliners and a host of complementary players around them. They have the pieces to score in the paint, the midrange and on the perimeter.

One of their secondary scoring options, Thomas Bryant, showed his potential on Saturday night in the Wizards' win over the Pistons with 22 points on 12 shots. He made 3-of-6 from long range.

Bryant already has a connection building with Westbrook, who on several plays found Bryant wide open after drawing in the defense off the dribble.

"He did a good job of being in the right spots," Westbrook said. "My job is to make it easy for everybody else and that's what I will continue to do."

"That's the thing about playing with Russell. If you run and get to your spots, he's going to find you," head coach Scott Brooks said. "There's going to be nights where T.B. gets 25 and 30 [points]."

When Bryant has big scoring nights, it likely won't be because Brooks called a lot of plays for him. He stands to get plenty of chances just by being on the floor with Westbrook and Beal.

Bryant has proven versatile so far in his young career, with the ability to score around the basket and from three-point range with efficiency. He led the NBA in two-point percentage in 2018-19 and last year shot 40.7 percent from three on 2.0 attempts per game.

 

Bryant has done that without a point guard like Westbrook, who is one of the best in the league at dissecting defenses and passing out of double teams. With the attention paid to him and Beal, Bryant should have more space this year than he's ever had before.

"I'm just taking shots the defense is giving me. I know my teammates trust me to take those shots," Bryant said last week. "Russ is such a dynamic player who can score in so many unique ways that it's very easy to play with him."

Bryant and Westbrook will link up often in the pick-and-roll. Bryant is an improving screen-setter and, with his ability to make threes, the Wizards will have several options on those plays.

"Most of the time it's going to open up a lot of easy layups and dunks for him," Davis Bertans said. "If he does it three times and goes to the basket, then the fourth time he pops out, there's definitely not going to be anybody guarding him. He's able to knock those shots down."

For some players on the Wizards, there are questions for how they will fit alongside Westbrook. But with Bryant, it shouldn't be difficult it all.