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Dwight Howard’s absence allows Thomas Bryant to grow with the Wizards

The Wizards’ top free agent signing will be missing some time. But it also gives them an opportunity to see the future at the low post.

Guangzhou Long-Lions v Washington Wizards
Thomas Bryant is in line to benefit from Dwight Howard’s absence. He has been Washington’s starting center and figures to be there for the foreseeable future.
Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Dwight Howard will miss about two months because he will need back surgery to fix his gluteal injury. That is bad news.

But it’s also an opportunity for Thomas Bryant, who’s started in Howard’s place in recent weeks.

Ben Mehic made a fair point earlier today that the Wizards are at a crossroads as to whether this team should begin a rebuild. I have more or less said that the Wizards have to start that process now. So while losing Howard is painful, Bryant is the Wizards’ lone young post player with upside. He is also the only true center who is playing rotation minutes given that Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith fell out of the rotation.

So far, Bryant is averaging 4.3 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. But if you look at his Per-36 numbers, he is averaging 15.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks a game. Also, his individual offensive rating is 121 while his defensive rating is 114. These are small sample sizes of course, but they indicate that the Wizards are benefiting when he is on the floor.

It will be interesting to see how much Bryant’s playing time increases in the coming weeks. Scott Brooks doesn’t have much of a choice but to call Bryant’s number at this point but it’s apparent that Bryant is stepping up as well.