Yes, the “Bazed God” should return to Golden State. Bazemore was a fan favourite with his towel waving antics, and while he may be remembered for his on-bench antics and not his on-court play, he has shown glimpses of his quality during his tenure as a Laker.
Bazemore was mis-utilized in his second season in the league, with Mark Jackson looking to him as a point guard off the bench. He struggled in that role, unable to create clean shots for himself and for others. He only played six minutes a game, with many of those minutes coming in garbage time. He had a career low shooting percentage (37.1%) and had more turnovers (0.6) than assists (0.5) per game. And with those disappointing numbers, he was shipped to the Lakers as part of a complicated trade deal for Steve Blake.
Under the bright lights of LA, Bazemore thrived. He more than quadrupled his playing time, and had five times more shots per game (10.7 to 2.2). He shot much better and didn’t have to focus on being a primary ball handler. While the team did end up losing most of the games he played, he played well and showed that he still has the quality to play in the NBA.
Bazemore plays better as a secondary ballhandler. When he doesn’t have to worry about sharing equal opportunities for his teammates, he can focus on driving and cutting to the basket, where he finishes at 64.8%. D’Antoni’s offensive system encourages three-point shooting, and Bazemore was happy to comply, with 44% of his shots coming from behind the arc. While he does have more room for improvement there (he shot 37.1%), these are all promising signs.
With Livingston as the point guard leader of the bench, Bazemore can focus on making shots and spacing the floor. Livingston is not a three-point shooter (attempting only 6 shots last season) and can be a spacing issue at times; therefore it is important that he is paired up with a shooter at the other guard spot – Bazemore was ranked 33rd in the league in points per play for spot-up shots (with 49% shooting on 33 3 point field goal attempts). Bazemore would be an intriguing fit, and the existing Warriors’ roster would be more than happy to welcome him back.
With salary, they might be able to offer him the veteran’s minimum and sell him on the idea of coming back home.