Several weeks ago, the Denver Nuggets, who were already doing well as the top seed in the Western Conference, acquired center Thomas Bryant in a four-team deal in order to augment their depth behind reigning two-time MVP center Nikola Jokic.
But he hasn’t played up to his standards with them, and he has seen his playing time go significantly down.
Head coach Michael Malone was asked why Bryant hasn’t been playing well, and he has no idea.
Michael Malone doesn’t have an answer for why Thomas Bryant is out of rhythm
“No idea. Can't answer it. Maybe ask him that.”
(Via @HarrisonWind ) pic.twitter.com/GW3mORTVHJ
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) March 31, 2023
Over the last few years, Bryant has emerged as an energetic center who is a strong finisher around the rim, a solid rebounder, and an effective 3-point shooter.
He played his first 41 games of this season with the Los Angeles Lakers, and he did very well, both as a backup to Anthony Davis and as their starting center when the superstar big man missed five weeks with a stress injury in his foot.
During those games, Bryant averaged 12.1 points and 6.8 rebounds in 21.4 minutes a game while shooting 65.4 percent from the field.
But in 17 contests with Denver, those numbers have fallen to just 4.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in 10.8 minutes a game and 46.7 percent shooting.
Bryant is the team’s main backup behind Jokic, as DeAndre Jordan, who started this season in that role, hasn’t quite worked out.
Jordan hasn’t appeared in a game since March 3, and he has played very sparingly since the start of 2023.
Although the Nuggets will, in all likelihood, finish with the best record in the West, some feel they could possibly lose in the first round of the playoffs if they draw a team such as the Golden State Warriors or Los Angeles Lakers there.NEXT: Former NBA Player Says He Is Leaning Towards 1 Player For MVP