After a full four years spent in college establishing themselves for the NBA Draft, sometimes players just need to work harder than others in order to get picked up by a pro team. If their names aren’t called on NBA Draft night, many pass on the NBA D-League, giving up on their NBA dreams for a basketball careers overseas.
But every college senior eventually wants to prove themselves in the best league in the world. Jeremy Lin, Wesley Matthews and J.J Barea are prime examples of undrafted four-year college players who are established at the NBA level. Another four-year guy to consider making this potential list is undrafted second-year player Kent Bazemore, out of Old Dominion.
So far, YouTube has shown us he’s been a clown for his antics on the bench in Golden State last season. With Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes and with Andre Iguodala coming to the lineup this summer, Bazemore never stood a chance playing solid minutes for the Warriors this season. With the “win now” mentality going on in the Bay Area, the Warriors shipped Bazemore to the Los Angeles Lakers just before the trade deadline for established veteran point guard Steve Blake, who they expect to give Curry the rest he needs.
If you can remember, last season’s playoff success from the Dubs came a lot from backup point guard veteran Jarrett Jack, who played behind Curry and Thompson, as Bazemore was a third-string bench warmer. He only averaged four minutes per game in 61 games played last season.
You can probably imagine now how easy it was for Warriors management to part ways with their social media fan favorite, better known for #bazemoring, which was established during his time as a Warrior. (Just search the hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and other social media outlets.) The Warriors run their annual preseason media day just like every NBA franchise, but it’s instead recognized as “Tweedia Day” in the Bay Area. Bazemore became almost a joke as fans made YouTube videos about his goofy bench antics. Some even remembered him as the leader of the “bench mob.”
If Bazemore is interviewing his teammates on “Tweedia Day” and the Dubs are posting videos of Bazemore popcorn pranks, it’s hard to imagine the Warriors taking him seriously as a backup for Curry and Thompson.
— Kent Bazemore (@KentBazemore20) February 20, 2014
Since the trade moving down to Southern California, there couldn’t be a better situation for an undrafted four-year college player to prove he really belongs. Sure, some may call stats inflated in the “D’Antoni system” but that shouldn’t take away the kind of player you are for displaying your true game. Not everyone will magically repeat “Linsanity” under coach Mike D’Antoni, but Bazemore is sure establishing himself with his new opportunity, averaging 14.3 points and shooting over 45 percent from the field as a Laker.
When given an opportunity, he’s proving his game belongs at this level. The days of #bazemoring are all but over. As Bazemore’s game is finally unleashing each night, his 6-11 wingspan on defense, along with his ability to score, may perhaps lead him to success at this level.
How good can Bazemore be?
Follow Terence on Twitter at @Terence415.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.