On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers parted ways with fan favorite Steve Blake in exchange for Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks from the Golden State Warriors. Blake’s evolution from struggling backup in the triangle offense to the confident starting point guard that led the team to the playoffs last year was truly a pleasure to watch. I can honestly say if the Lakers got their stuff together the past two years, Blake was ready to help the team win a championship; he gets full credit for his time wearing the purple and gold.
As for Bazemore and Brooks, the Lakers are getting two very intriguing players who are both free agents this offseason. Mitch Kupchak has made these kind of sneaky trades in the past where he has acquired an undervalued player buried on the end of someone’s bench. Look no further than Trevor Ariza and Shannon Brown.
Bazemore has played extremely well for Golden State whenever given a chance; he is a player who does not lack confidence. He was the Summer League MVP in Las Vegas this past year and has been playing behind Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala among others. He has a good mix of slashing, shooting, defense and athleticism, which quite honestly you don’t see from guys at the end of someone’s bench. More importantly, he adds a level of grit and physicality, something Los Angeles has lacked for quite some time.
For whatever reason Brooks has not found a home in the NBA in his brief three year career, this now being his fourth team. When he was at the Providence, no other player’s game reminded me more of Kobe Bryant. I thought for sure he would be a great sixth man for a club, and this might just be the opportunity. Brooks is nowhere near as explosive as a prime Bryant, but he possesses the same slashing, ball-handling and mid-range type of game.
The best part is both guys will be getting extended minutes right away, something Bazemore has never gotten at the NBA level. Brooks hasn’t seen meaningful action since his rookie season. The Lakers will have the first opportunity to re-sign either player for cheap if they like what they see during games and in practice.