Bryant, who had started all of his previous games for Washington this season, will be coming off the bench in his first NBA game since December 1, according to Hoops Rumors’ Chris Crouse (Twitter link). Crouse notes that Wizards All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal, who has missed his team’s last five games, will return as well.
Before the 22-year-old Bryant suffered a right foot stress reaction in December, he had been enjoying his best season as a pro. The No. 42 pick in 2017, Bryant logged just 15 games for the Lakers in the 2017/18 season. Los Angeles waived Bryant in 2018.
In 2018/19, the Wizards took a flyer on Bryant, and he blossomed in his sophomore season following the injury flameout of nominal starting center Dwight Howard, who missed all but nine games in DC. Bryant averaged 10.5 PPG and 6.3 RPG for the Wizards during his age-21 season, convincing the Wizards to re-sign him this past summer to a three-year, $25MM contract.
Bryant is averaging career highs of 13.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 2.7 APG in 28.4 MPG across Washington’s newly sped-up offense. The Wizards sport the third-fastest offense in the NBA.
Beal, who signed a two-year, $72MM extension with the Wizards this fall that will pay him through the 2022/23 season, had been enjoying a career year for Washington, too. He is averaging career highs of 27.8 PPG, 6.6 APG, and shooting 83.1% from the free-throw line. Beal is also averaging 4.8 RPG.