Not: Thomas Bryant's defensive struggles ⬇️
Understanding that plus-minus doesn’t tell the whole story, it’s worth noting that Thomas Bryant has had a positive plus-minus just twice all season. He’s coming off perhaps his worst performance of the season, where the Heat were outscored by four in his 9:41 against the Lakers.
The most glaring stretch bridged the third and fourth quarters. The Heat were up 12 when Bryant checked in for Bam Adebayo at the 1:41 mark of the third quarter. The Lakers proceeded to score on a layup, dunk, layup and dunk before Austin Reaves drilled a 3-pointer that prompted the Heat to use a timeout with 10:09 to go in the fourth. In just over three minutes, Miami’s 12-point lead was cut in half. Bryant was out and Adebayo was in. Adebayo went on to play the rest of the game and logged 38 minutes. This, while Anthony Davis played only 25 minutes and was sidelined down the stretch because of a groin injury.
Late rotations like this can drive a coach crazy. Bryant was subbed out seconds later.
None of this is shocking. Bryant has been benched by other teams because of his defensive shortcomings. But the Heat need him to be a productive factor on offense to balance out what he gives up on the other end. Among centers who primarily come off the bench, he ranks ninth in points per 36 minutes and eighth in rebounding. That’s solid. But this last week was a struggle and he’ll need to have more good nights than bad.