Thomas Bryant and Dennis Schroder returned to the action on Friday, making their season debuts in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 128-121 win over the Detroit Pistons.
Bryant and Schroder spent 13 and 16 minutes on the court, respectively, making their Lakers comebacks official a month into the 2022-23 NBA season. The delay was caused by thumb injuries that forced her to undergo preseason surgery.
Schroder landed with two points and two assists, while Bryant had eight points and registered five rebounds. Head coach Darvin Ham was happy to see both players back in action, especially as LA looks to improve on their 4-10 record with some players still sidelined.
“It was great to see them both out there and just throw them out and give them some action,” says Ham. “Your timing will come. Thomas was huge in some segments, even Dennis as he had an extra playmaker and ball handler. He’s a guy you see taking Bogdanovic for a few possessions, a guy who wants to do it on both sides of the ball.
“So we’re going to find out when we start to become whole. We’ll see, we’ll study the film, but in any case it was great to have her available, especially with Max [Christie] and LeBron [James] be outside. I thought it was huge. These guys, Dennis and Thomas, played a lot of NBA minutes. I think it will be a fruitful situation to have two such veterans who are able to bring in the mix when they are more comfortable.”
Schröder seemed to lose his rhythm offensively on Friday, scoring just one field goal (20%) in five attempts. But Ham understands the playmaker, 29, needs time to get his touch back.
“He just needs to get stronger after that hand surgery,” the Lakers head coach said. “He’s in a position now where outside of any kind of weird contact he can’t hurt it any more than what has been fixed. And now it’s all about him getting the reps, getting the minutes under his belt, minutes of the game.”
Ham adds that the coaching staff have a plan to help Schroder and Bryant sync up with the rest of the team.
“We’re going to get him out of there, him and Thomas, take them to a 5v0 run where they can get used to the system and go through scripted pieces and understand exactly what they’re supposed to be doing, what we’re looking for,” says Ham.
“I have all the confidence in the world in Dennis. He’s like family to me, I’ve just been with him since he first set foot in the league and now with the LakeShow I can reconnect with him. I’m super excited because I know that once he gets comfortable with what we’re doing, that push that Russ delivers off the bench is what Dennis will bring once he’s immersed and really comfortable with the rhythm , it’s going to be a lot to do when you go up against the Lakers.”
Ham was an assistant coach with the Atlanta Hawks when Schroder made his NBA debut in 2013-14, beginning the guard’s five-year run with the Hawks.
Bryant appreciates Schroder’s support during his injured thumb rehab
Bryant has said having Schroder by his side after thumb surgery helped him get through the ups and downs of rehab. “It was good to have someone to talk to,” says Bryant.
“Feed the same energy and suffer the same injury. It was the same glitches throughout rehab, the same ups and downs. Just basic stuff you go through in surgery and all.
“It was good to have someone who knows what you’re going through.”
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