When the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to a deal the day before the NBA Trade Deadline that landed them former Golden State Warriors bench-stalwarts Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks in exchange for Steve Blake, it seemed that the Warriors gained a needed reserve guard while the Lakers got next-to-nothing and made some minor room on their books.
However, reports came out soon after the deal that the Lakers had bigger plans than just to save money with the trade, namely their high hopes for Bazemore. Bazemore barely touched the floor during his time with Golden State, but the Lakers seemed to like his potential and planned to use him as he arrived in a depleted backcourt.
Thus far, they have stayed true to their word. Through Bazemore’s first three games in a Lakers’ uniform, he’s played 33.7 minutes per game. Possibly even more shocking is how productive he’s been with those minutes, averaging 18.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game while shooting a solid 45.2 percent from the floor. To put how much more he’s been playing and producing into perspective, Bazemore’s 55 points in three games with L.A. are over half of his total in 44 games with the Warriors this year.
It’s certainly a limited sample-size, but Bazemore has performed well in the pick-and-roll and in transition with the Lakers. Though L.A. has remained a poor defensive team, Bazemore’s individual defensive effort has been solid as he’s allowed 0.5 points per possession and has held opponents to just 19 percent shooting since joining the Lakers, per Synergy.
We’ll obviously need to see more from Bazemore in the last two months of the season and one has to wonder whether he’s just another guard that benefits from the system of head coach Mike D’Antoni, but it’s also nice to see a guy get his opportunity to showcase his talents and then take advantage of the chance at hand. There’s more to be seen, but the start of Bazemore’s career in Los Angeles has been surprising and impressive.