Let me just start off by saying that Kent Bazemore is one of the more important guys on this Hawks team. He has sacrificed a lot to stay in Atlanta and truly wants to be here and be a part of the bright future ahead. His veteran presence in the locker room speaks volume to stellar rookie seasons of Kevin Huerter and Trae Young, and the steady rise of Taurean Prince and DeAndre Bembry. This season for Bazemore was a tough one. He battled injuries but, being the team player he is, took on a new role off the bench following the ankle injury suffered in December..
Bazemore did not have his best shooting season by any means. He shot 32% from 3 which was his lowest mark since joining the Hawks. I mean it really wasn’t a bad scoring season for Baze as he put in 11.6 points a game in just over 24 minutes a game, but it was just the inconsistency throughout the season that made the shooting % numbers to be down from years past. I again go back to the ankle injury that plagued him throughout the season.
However, Bazemore on defense was still what he usually is, our go to defender. He was the key to ending Jame Harden’s 30 point game streak. The biggest thing about Bazemore is even when he has a bad offensive game, he will still be on the floor because he doesn’t let it affect him on defense.
Bazemore opted into his $19.0 million player option for next season. This is a huge for this young team. I don’t care about the salary. He needs to be an Atlanta Hawk beyond next season. He isn’t a star player, but you need guys like Bazemore in the locker room. He is a leader, and if the Hawks do make that surprise run to the playoffs next season, Bazemore’s leadership and experience will be key.
By: Bret Anderson