The bar was set high for Kent Bazemore this season following the Hawks giving him a four year, 70 million dollar contract he signed in the off-season. Entering the year, the Hawks had high expectations for the shooting guard considering since his 2014 arrival, he’s continued to make improvements offensively to compliment his above average defense and energy that is seen on the court. Throughout Bazemore’s career in the NBA, he has always been the “Energizer Bunny”. Bazemore is viewed as a guy to provide a spark whether he was starting or coming off the bench and change the momentum of a game, and he’s done that and more during his professional career.
However, during the 2016-2017 NBA season, Bazemore had arguably his most inconsistent season in his career. His shots weren’t falling, turnovers were higher than in previous years and his decision making was questionable. Unforunately, he couldn’t settle into a rhythm throughout the season. Although Bazemore had memorable games, he spent most of the season trying to simply make an impact for the Hawks.
Although the easiest source of blame for Kent Bazemore’s struggles was his new contract, you saw him play with a lot of frustration this season. It’s tough to watch one of the Hawks energy players struggle to make a impact on the floor throughout the season. Considering the contract extension, you often wonder if Bazemore’s struggles was solely based on pressure to produce at a high level . With the growing salary cap, his contract resembled what many stars or starters received in the previous years. In his performance throughout the season, I felt that he was expecting to contribute as one of the Hawks star players, which led to his ill advised decision making throughout the regular season. Most of the time, Bazemore was putting the Hawks in a tough position.
Bazemore averaged (11) points per game, shot (40.9%) from the field, and (34.6%) behind the arc. In addition, he posted (3.4) rebounds and (2.4) assists per game. Bazemore ended the season coming off the bench after missing a few games due to an injury, however, that could be where the Hawks need his production in the future. Kent’s production in the second unit was much better because he’s still a solid contributor on the floor offensively on top of being one of the team’s best defenders.
This season was less than spectacular for Bazemore and he didn’t live up to his extension so far; however, if he can continue to improve in his role and continue to work on his mechanics, he will definitely live up to the contract. Hawks fans should be excited to see how Bazemore bounces back in the 2017-2018 NBA season.