When people think of the Golden State Warriors, they tend to focus on players like Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, or even Klay Thompson. The Warriors are lucky to have a great core of players that features a great blend of talent and experience.
Kent Bazemore is recognizable to NBA fans, but mostly for his bench celebrations. The average NBA fan might not realize that Bazemore has a future that centers on his on-court skill and not his funny celebrations. How high is Bazemore’s ceiling? It’s hard to say, but I’m starting to think it’s higher than most people realize.
Bazemore did not get drafted; his play in the NBA’s Summer League earned him a contract with the Warriors. He spent most of his rookie season on the bench, only getting into games under certain circumstances.
Kent was most well known for his defensive ability when he played at Old Dominion. In 2011, he won the Lefty Driesell award, which is given to the best defensive player in the nation. His 6’5” frame features freakishly long arms which combine with his above-average athleticism to create nightmares for opponents.
Bazemore was the best player on the Warriors’ 2013 Summer League roster. In seven games, he averaged 18.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. The Warriors won the Summer League Championship largely due to Bazemore’s performance. Just take a look at some of his highlights.
Dominating the Summer League is a lot different than dominating throughout an NBA regular season, but Bazemore showed great promise as an all-around player.
He needs to work on his shot selection (especially with three-pointers), but he has a nice jump shot and is great at taking the ball to the hoop. Defense will always be his strength, but he has shown that he can be a two way player.
As the season approaches, Bazemore will have to head back to the bench. Still, I hope Mark Jackson includes him in the Warriors’ rotation. Kent can take a back seat on offense and shine on defense.
Bazemore hasn’t had many opportunities to shine, but he has performed well whenever those opportunities are presented. With Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson ahead of him on the roster, Bazemore might be better off finding a new team when his contract is up.
Kent will never be a go-to scorer, but he has shown good scoring ability. He has all the tools to be an elite wing defender in the league. If he can make his way to a team that is in need of a shooting guard, I think he could be a starter in this league. It just isn’t going to happen with the Warriors.
Bazemore is still young and he still has room to grow. This season should be a good indicator of his future in the NBA. If he makes the most of his playing time, another team will notice. As good as Bazemore is at celebrating on the bench, he would be much more valuable on the court.