The 6-foot-10 center averaged 14.3 points and 6.1 rebounds in his 10 games this season, and his teammates praised him for his ability to process feedback and immediately implement it on the floor.
“He’s been growing every single game this year,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal said Jan. 3. “He’s just been playing dominating basketball. And the thing I love about is, he’s always willing to learn.”
One of Bryant’s major breakthroughs this season was his ability to channel his energy into positive contributions, flushing things that are out of his control. Coach Scott Brooks has said he and Bryant have worked on that side of his game, and the results were evident.
Bryant had benefited from playing alongside Beal and Russell Westbrook this year, receiving plenty of clean looks in the paint. Bryant scored a season-high 28 points against the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 31, hitting 10 of his 11 shots.
Then he followed that with an 18-point performance in the Wizards’ first win of the season, coming Jan. 1 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Two days later, Bryant scored 21 points and added 14 rebounds in a win against the Brooklyn Nets.
But he suffered his season-ending knee injury early in Saturday’s contest.
“He’s in pain, but we hope for the best,” Brooks said after Saturday’s loss to the Heat. “I just know one thing about TB, he’s a great kid that works, he plays with passion, he gives you everything he has, and hopefully it’s nothing serious and he can be back soon.”
It didn’t work out that way for Washington, a team that has started 2-8 — the worst record in the league. Without Bryant, center Robin Lopez will receive more minutes, as well as Moritz Wagner. Anžejs Pasečņiks could feature more, too.
• Andy Kostka can be reached at email@example.com.
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