On behalf of the HawksHoop crew, I would like to extend congratulations to Kent Bazemore for being named in Sports Illustrated’s list of the top 100 players! To the Atlanta Hawks organization, you should be proud, a lot of his growth as a professional came as a member of your team. Bazemore was ranked 91.
Kent Bazemore represents one of the most valuable positions in the NBA as a 3 and D player who can guard multiple positions. He has shown what hard work can do for you with the improvement of ball-handling, shooting and leadership in the locker room. Also read...a professional basketball player that works on his craft.
Based on what Ben Golliver states in the Sports Illustrated article, you can see that Kent Bazemore’s journey was a little more like an odyssey…
“Bazemore (12.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.5 APG) in the NBA’s anti-Forrest Gump: He’s has an uncanny knack for always just missing out on the action. The 29 year old guard, who went undrafted in 2012, arrived on the scene with the Warriors just before Stephen Curry and Co. skyrocketed to dynasty mode. He then had a brief cup of coffee with the Lakers in 2014, a period of deep irrelevance after the ill-fated Dwight Howard experiment but before Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour. From there he landed in Atlanta, where he played a bit role on a team that made the 2015 East finals before breaking out in a starting role just as the team’s core disbanded.”
Talk about putting the character to the test. It would have been easy to look at the “what could have been…” and “almost was” of Bazemore’s career and been sour. Kent Bazemore is not that type. Through his play, he has shown that he is blessed to even have a career knowing the odds of having a position in the NBA.
Kent Bazemore has put in the work for this franchise and is the last representative of the good old days back in 2014-15 when the Hawks won 60 games and had a deep playoff run. All of the other players are gone and Bazemore is still playing hard despite the franchise being in the middle of a heavy transition. A lot of players would allow a situation like this to affect their play. Kent Bazemore is not one of them.
With the possible scenario that Bazemore may have his minutes cut with the development plan of Trae Young, Tyler Dorsey and Daniel Hamilton, it is likely that Bazemore will be one of the favorites to be traded this season. His leadership in the locker room guarantees the fact that he won’t be traded for ten cents on the dollar like Dwight Howard was a couple of years back. Bazemore not being a bad locker room presence and creating dysfunction for the young players allows Travis Schlenk the flexibility to be patient.
This guy is a professional which is the easiest sell for Travis Schlenk over all of the players on this list. Bazemore plays hard, he’s coachable and team oriented. Plus if he gets hot from distance, watch out! Remember, you have to give up something to get something done.
The NBA can and should use Kent Bazemore’s story as an example for what the G-League can do for a player if he sacrifices and works hard enough.
More from Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver…
“Thanks to the four year, $70 million contract he inked during the 2016 cap spike, Bazemore has gone from toiling in the G-League to becoming the highest paid player on one of the league’s worst rosters in less than five years. Although he’s clearly overpaid and unequipped to be a playoff best team’s best, second best or third best player, Bazemore is a solid 3 and D player with good size and motor.”
I understand Golliver’s statement, but look at it this way. In the playoffs for a contender, any championship team needs that player that will help set the tone by bringing energy every night. Every player does not need to score 20 points a night to be effective. Most contenders already have the hierarchy set when it comes to the offense. The question these teams are looking to avoid is not wrecking chemistry, something Golliver states finishing up his analysis on Bazemore…
“In an ideal world, he would be cast as a fifth option in a contender’s starting lineup and asked to space the court, pick his spots to attack off the dribble, and bring energy on the defensive end.”
Based on a player that started in the G-League and found himself the best overall player on a professional NBA team and one of the top 100 players according to Sports Illustrated, sounds good to me!
Congratulations Kent...enjoy your honor.
You deserve it.