Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Wizards C Thomas Bryant

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Thomas Bryant #13 of the Washington Wizards in action against the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Thomas Bryant #13 of the Washington Wizards in action against the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

While the Toronto Raptors need to figure out what exactly is going on with Chris Boucher and Thad Young before they start adding additional pieces elsewhere to improve this roster, the center spot will need to be remade eventually. Washington Wizards big Thomas Bryant could be one way to fill that void.

The Raptors need to prioritize players that could be brought in on a multi-year contract without breaking the bank. Showcasing the perfect blend of youth, quality down low, and affordability, Bryant would be a gamble for Masai Ujiri and Nick Nurse to take.

Bryant appeared to be one of the game’s best up-and-coming young centers after leaving the Lakers, but serious injuries like an ACL tear have slowed his climb to the top. If he gets a clean bill of health, his production with Washington should send his stock skyrocketing through the roof in free agency.

Bryant averaged 11.0 points per game on 59% shooting to go along with 6.2 rebounds and just under one block per contest over the last four years. At 6-10 and 250 pounds, Bryant would be the tallest and one of the most physically imposing players on a team that needs more interior depth.

Would Thomas Bryant fit with the Toronto Raptors?

Per Cleaning the Glass (subscription required), Bryant was a 96th percentile points per shot attempt player in 2018-19 and 99th percentile in 2020-21. Those numbers dipped after making a return to the Wizards this year, but they can be excused as the byproduct of limited time on the court behind names like Kristaps Porzingis and his injury recovery.

Bryant is not just limited to dunks on the offensive end, as he shot 37% from 3-point range on just under two attempts per game prior to last season. After Nurse turned Precious Achiuwa from a pure rim-runner into someone capable of pulling up in transition from deep in just one year, Bryant could be in for a similar production bump.

While he isn’t David Robinson on the defensive end, he’s been a passable defender and shot-blocker. Bryant’s skills were nullified in Scott Brooks’ awful collective defense early in his career, and he was never in a groove to the point where he thrived under Wes Unseld Jr. Nurse should once again put him in a position to succeed on that end.

Bryant would be a big roll of the dice, given all of the adversity he has had to overcome. The Raptors might have to make such a drastic move if they miss out on all of their high-end center targets.

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