Entering his fourth season in a Hawks uniform, it’s imperative that Kent Bazemore has a solid season. 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.
Now with the loss of Dwight Howard via trade to Charlotte and Paul Millsap leaving for the Denver Nuggets in Free Agency, Bazemore is the highest paid player on the current roster as we enter the 2017-18 NBA season in the midst of a rebuilding process. He will have to elevate his game on all aspects, especially on offense.
With the loss of Tim Hardaway Jr., Millsap, Kyle Korver during the mid-season and Thabo Sefolosha, there’s a major percentage of your three point shooting gone. Bazemore shot a dismal (34.6%) from behind the arc and this season, he’ll need to increase his percentage and give the Hawks the outside shooting threat for Coach Bud’s scheme which is based on creating Open looks and outside shooting.
Moving along, Bazemore will have to cause havoc on the court as a defender as well similar to last year when he averaged a career high in blocks with (2.3%) and was a menace as an on-ball defender. Last season, he averaged (91) steals and (52) blocks, making him one of the best defenders on the Hawks roster. With the lack of a defensive presence on the roster, Bazemore should continue to make progress in a increased role as a shooting guard.
Also, Bazemore saw his production increase as a facilitator last season averaging a career high in assists with (2.4) per game! At times, he was the second best point guard on the court due to the lack of production of Malcolm Delaney at point guard, which is a benefit for a offense solely designed on ball movement. Increasing his role as an effective passer is one of the main keys to success not only for the veteran shooting guard, but the 2017-18 Atlanta Hawks as well. On a team with a desperate need for a go-to guy, if the Hawks are going to be better than many expect, Kent Bazemore will have to improve his mechanics.
Personally, I expect to see Bazemore average around (15.5) Points Per Game, (5.7) Rebounds Per Game, and (3.1) Assists Per Game. Although it’s not a major boost to his stats from the 2016-17 campaign, he’s probably the third best option for the Hawks and looking to rebound from a forgettable first year under his new contract, Hawks fans should be excited to see how our “Energizer Bunny” continue to produce for one of the youngest Hawks rosters we’ve seen in years!
Phil Veasley is a resident of Atlanta who has been a die-hard Hawks fan since 2005. He is Civil Engineer student at KSU. Currently, Phil writes for Atlanta Hawks Talk while also managing all ATLSportsHQ sites. He can be reached on Twitter at @_ATLPhil