After moving into the Golden State Warriors' Las Vegas Summer League starting lineup to replace Klay Thompson, Kent Bazemore made an impression with his defense and energy. Photo by Freelantz Sports Media.
(S/O to GSoM community member iHypeTV for posting the original Hoopshype report this morning)
Marcus Thompson II reported today that Golden State Warriors summer league member Kent Bazemore is on the verge of signing a partially guaranteed two-year contract after an impressive summer league run.
Bazemore started summer league playing behind Klay Thompson, but he really shined after Thompson was shut down for the final three games in Vegas. The highlight of his summer league campaign was a 7-block performance on Friday, which was probably the most spectacular display of his outstanding athleticism, energy, and defensive instincts. But you could also see him become increasingly more patient on the offensive end as summer league progressed, figuring out how to pick his spots in getting to the basket.
But perhaps more importantly given the Warriors' depth chart is that Thompson reports that the Bazemore signing will not impact their ability to sign Brandon Rush, who is reportedly hoping to be back in a Warriors' uniform this year.
...the Warriors still felt like they may have found something in Bazemore. Warriors general manager Bob Myers and his staff have been collecting assets and talent all summer, regardless of position. This is another such acquisition...The signing of Bazemore won’t impact the Warriors’ ability to sign re-sign swingman Brandon Rush AND sign one more free agent.
Golden State is still waiting to sign second-round pick Draymond Green, who’s been guaranteed a roster spot.
Bazemore was about as well-rounded in college at Old Dominion as he was in summer league, averaging 15.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 2.11 steals per game during his senior year. His 250 steals set a Colonial Athletic Association conference record. And the Warriors had taken notice of Bazemore prior to summer league - he participated in a pre-draft workout for them on June 24, 2012 along with St. Jon
Even if Bazemore doesn't play a game this season - which is certainly possible - I love the signing and the philosophy of just finding a way to hold on to talent even if it's a bit of a financial crunch and not an immediate "fit". It's yet another demonstration of this regime's focus on winning instead of penny-pinching, which you have to love.
As I wrote earlier today though, Bazemore has all the tools to develop into the "hybrid defensive stopper/shooter" role that Brian McCormick suggested for a number of wings prior to the 2012 NBA Draft and it's a valuable function in today's NBA game. He'd have to work on his 3-point shot a bit to get there - he was 0-for-4 in summer league - but his shooting mechanics are solid and it's certainly a reasonable goal for him to work toward. Regardless, players with his dedication to the defensive end are something the current Warriors' roster sorely lacks.
Obviously, Bazemore is not going to make or break the Warriors' chances at making the playoffs, but the signing represents that the Warriors really are working like the dickens to find and keep talent.