Free Agency

Houston Rockets: Top-5 2022 free agent centers 

N.B. Lindberg
Phoenix Suns v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Four
Phoenix Suns v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Four / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages
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Thomas Bryant
Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

Houston Rockets Free Agent Center #4 Thomas Bryant 

Thomas Bryant is not a household name, but he’s a quality NBA center that is a real threat from 3-point range. He’s not a great defender at the rim or in space, but his ability to finish lobs and bomb from three makes him an excellent back-up or spot starter. He also shouldn’t be too expensive to sign and will likely look for a short term deal after playing 37 games over the past two seasons due to an ACL tear in January of 2021. 

The Rockets could conceivably get him for near the league minimum if they offer him a solid role to rebuild his value. When Bryant came back from injury, his 3-point shooting was dreadful (28.6%), but it was a small sample, and he remains a career 35% shooter from distance. A half season with Rockets back around 40% could see him have a robust trade market. 

Bryant isn’t just a 3-point specialist. He is incredibly efficient around the rim and within 10 feet. For his career, he has converted 80.8% of his shots three feet or closer to the rim and 51.7% of shots three feet to 10 feet from the basket. He doesn’t do much of any passing or self creation, but he’s an exceptional finisher. 

The only reason Bryant isn’t a household name is he’s a porous defender. He’s not particularly tall, is incredibly stiff, which limits his mobility, and doesn’t have the positional awareness to overcome his physical deficiencies. If Thomas Bryant sounds an awful lot like a former Rocket, it’s because he’s the B-version of Christian Wood. 

Bryant, unlike Wood, won’t need to start and thus won’t eat into Alperen Sengun’s minutes. His ability to shoot could also allow him and Sengun to share the court, but defensively that lineup might bleed points like a hemophiliac. All things considered, Bryant is the exact type of player the Rockets should be targeting. Buy-low bounce-back candidates that won’t need to start. 

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