Now in his sophomore year with the Golden State Warriors, shooting guard Kent Bazemore wants to prove to coach Mark Jackson that he deserves more playing time.
During his rookie season, Bazemore was just another bench warmer. He was known more for his celebrations and impersonations rather than his basketball skills. ESPN ranked him 499th out of 500 NBA players in the league. He wrote 499 on his shoes to remind himself to improve. So, at the Las Vegas Summer League, Bazemore made a lasting impression on everybody. He helped the Warriors’ team win the summer league championship, while averaging 18.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.7 steals. He played point guard, shooting guard and small forward.
Defense is Bazemore’s specialty. He shut down the Washington Wizards‘ top prospect Otto Porter in the Warriors’ first game of the summer league. Every game he plays defense as if his roster spot depends on it. He will have to keep playing that way since the backcourt is deep. The Warriors have Stephen Curry, Toney Douglas, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Seth Curry and Harrison Barnes.
But Bazemore is more than just a glue guy. He is learning to improve his ball handling and reduce his turnovers. He had several monster jams in the summer league. When he went to play basketball in New York with Kevin Durant and David Lee, he showed his three-point shot had improved.
Bazemore has qualities that coaches like. He plays hard, loves to play defense and always brings energy. He really demonstrated he deserves more playing time with his performance at the summer league. However, there have been players that were great in the summer league, but horrible during the regular season. Bazemore looks like he will prove doubters wrong, and that he is more than just a summer-league sensation.