Connected by an NBA Draft night trade, Thomas Bryant and Tony Bradley met for the second time on the G League court

By Rodrigo Azurmendi | December 31, 2017

EL SEGUNDO – Thomas Bryant and Tony Bradley’s careers will forever be linked by the events of Draft night in late June of 2017.

The Lakers had acquired the 28th overall pick in a trade earlier in the year with the Houston Rockets, but chose to be opportunistic at the end of the first round, turning that selection into a pair of assets.

That’s how they struck a deal with the Utah Jazz, selecting Bradley out of North Carolina and immediately trading him for the No. 30 and No. 42 selections, which they used to draft Josh Hart and Bryant.

With the guard out of Villanova already settling into Luke Walton’s rotation and even earning a few starts due to a recent rash of injuries, and with Bryant making his presence felt with South Bay, it’s safe to say the early returns of that trade are nothing short of exciting.

Bryant outplayed Bradley a few weeks ago in Salt Lake City, leading SBL to a 106-97 victory while pouring in 20 points, six rebounds and three assists, shooting 3-5 from downtown.

Those two matched up again Saturday night at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo, and the outcome wasn’t much different. Bryant finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, while Bradley played only 26 minutes and produced eight points.

This one wasn’t particularly close either, as the Lakers led by double digits most of the night and won by 22 points.

Bryant had a quiet game – by his lofty standards – after coming into the night averaging 22.0 points on 59.6 percent from the field. The 20-year old also failed to notch a three pointer only for the second time in 14 games this season in the NBA G League, but is still shooting 42.2 percent from beyond the arc.

With Ivica Zubac, Vander Blue and Alex Caruso with the parent team on the current road trip to Houston and Minnesota, Bryant stepped up like he has all season, and led South Bay to it’s 14th win of the season, ending 2017 on a high note.

And given the way he’s performed, the injury absences and the needs of Walton’s roster, it won’t be long before he’s mixing it up at the NBA level.