Sports Out West

MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore have much to prove

Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo / USA TODAY Sports

After leading a fourth quarter comeback over the Boston Celtics in their first game on Friday as Los Angeles Lakers, Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks looked like players hungry to prove their worth.

Over the past two seasons each players has spent their fair share of time on the bench in limited roles on their previous team. Bazemore has spent first season and half in the NBA on the Golden State Warriors bench and as he received insufficient amounts of playing time as he remained stuck behind a talented backcourt of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, and Andre Iguodala.

This did not allow for the second-year guard to flourish or develop his skills. However, he did demonstrate that he can be a productive player as he helped lead the Warriors to a 2013 Summer League Championship. In those seven games played he averaged 18.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 30.1 minutes per contest.

But throughout his time on the bench in Golden State he remained determined. Now Bazemore has an opportunity to show what he’s got in an increased role with the Lakers as he also has an opportunity to learn from Kobe Bryant, who he grew up idolizing as a kid.

“My adrenaline is still going right now,” Bazemore said, who scored a career-high 15 points in his debut for the Lakers in Friday’s win. “I feel great right now. Kobe walked in at the beginning of the game and he had me all focused on the game. It was crazy you don’t want to embarrass yourself in your first game and he is sitting back there in the locker room. That was in the back of mind the whole time that ‘Kobe is somewhere out there watching.'”

The 24-year-old also knows he must continue to work hard at his craft to continue in order to get better as a player, which is something he strived to do since he his childhood.

“It’s great. I just work hard every day,” Bazemore said. “When  I grew up, 7 years old, outside just playing by myself, I couldn’t even fathom being in this situation, but Staples Center is a great place to play and the bright lights are something I’m afraid of so you just go have fun.”

Brooks also had high praise for Bazemore after his career-high 15 points in Friday’s win over the Celtics.

“We have been working together for over the past month and he is the first one in the gym and last one to leave,” Brooks said. “So he deserves this opportunity. I am happy for him man.”

As for Brooks, It has been a struggle over the past two seasons as he has also spent on the bench fighting for playing time meanwhile also experiencing being traded twice this year. This was even after his rookie season, where he started 47 games and averaged 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists in 29.4 minutes per game.

The 25-year-old has learned from his time on the bench as it has made him a more hungry player and increase his personal drive to get better everyday, which is something he feels that he has over the past season.

His former head coach Brad Stevens stated before Friday’s game that Brooks can flat out “score the ball” and is a improved defender when he was a member of the Celtics earlier this season.

“MarShon is a very, very, very explosive young player,” Stevens said. “He is a young that has been a double figure scorer in this league. He was easy guy to coach and I am hopeful for him that he finds himself as a great fit for them (Lakers).”

So with that said Brooks, like Bazemore, appears to be ready to take on the spotlights of Los Angeles and the challenges that come with it.

“I was real nervous just looking up seeing that purple and gold and the banners,” Brooks said. “It’s a lot of pressure and it’s not easy, but I’m good for it.”

Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo / USA TODAY Sports

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia is a sports journalist from Southern California. He was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.

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