Sports Out West

5 reasons why Kent Bazemore is more than just a hype man

kent bazemore

Kent Bazemore is a sideline circus show, but that’s not why he occupies an NBA roster spot.

The Golden State Warriors view Bazemore as a star in the making who will one day serve as a (non-Jarrett) jack-of-all-trades in the rotation. Besides his dance moves, the 24-year-old is a rising prospect because:

He’s hungry

If going undrafted out of Old Dominion University in 2012 wasn’t enough, insult added to injury when Bazemore was listed 499th in an ESPN ranking for the 500 best NBA players. Mind you there are 450 total NBA roster slots, so the wing was essentially expected not to crack the league.

But here we are in 2013, and Bazemore is a lock to make the Warriors in the fall. The pro had “499” stitched underneath the tongue of his basketball shoes to be a reminder he still has work to do to climb the ESPN ladder.

Talent

This has never been a question, but Bazemore was understood as a “raw” athlete when he made himself eligible for the draft. He is 6’5” and 200 pounds but possesses a nearly-seven foot wingspan, which allows him to wreak havoc on the defensive side of the ball. Bazemore has the quicks to tenaciously cover guards and small forwards, and he stunts a sudden first step that allows him to regularly attack the basket. The man can also float apparently.

He embraces tutelage

Bazemore wisely accepts others’ suggestions, but his closest help may be an unheralded surprise. He cites ex-Warrior Richard Jefferson as his favorite mentor, and even goes so far as to say he models his game after the twelve-year veteran.

“Same type of game, he was a lot bigger than I am, but as far as running the floor, dunking, just being that energy guy, flying through the air, that’s who I always patent my game around,” Bazemore explained to Warriorsworld.com. “And then to actually know him on a personal basis has been a dream come true, he’s definitely been coaching me along this process…he’s definitely been in my corner.”

Bazemore and the Utah-bound Jefferson should stay in touch.

He does the little things

Basketball is a lot more than shooting, and Bazemore recognized this at an early age.

“I always grew on the team mentality, playing with guys for a better cause: to win,” he noted.

It’s noticeable when he plays. Along with relentless defensive effort, Bazemore will dive for loose balls, box out opponents, and share the rock with peers. Head coach Mark Jackson probably knows this kind of attitude will soon become contagious.

Seen him play recently?

In the July Summer League, Bazemore averaged 18.4 points per game (with an acceptable 44% accuracy from the floor) in 30 minutes a contest, all Warriors victories. He had his share of highlight clips including steals and the dunk that shook Las Vegas.

Bazemore still has weaknesses to attend (particularly ball handling), but he is most definitely an NBA-quality player. Soon fans should know him as more than an overly-energetic cheerleader.

Photo Credit: Lance Iversen / The Chronicle

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Rui Thomas

Rui Thomas is an NFL and NBA aficionado whose credits include Yahoo! Sports, FanNation, GoldenGateSports and Radiosurvivor.com. He also owns the Theruination.net. Rui grew up an obsessive fan of the Sacramento Kings and Oakland Raiders, but he sympathizes with every West Coast team.