Lakers player reviews: Kent Bazemore
May, 25, 2014
By Dave McMenamin
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images Kent Bazemore seems like the kind of player the Lakers hope will grow into a key role.
Season recap: Bazemore went from being a sound financial decision -- the Lakers' trade with Golden State that shipped Steve Blake to the Warriors in exchange for Bazemore and MarShon Brooks saved L.A. about $4 million, all told -- to a potential steal. With no second-round picks in the upcoming draft, general manager Mitch Kupchak was creative about acquiring a young talent who could grow in L.A.
Wesley Johnson off a sideline out-of-bounds play in Portland. The three times he topped the 20-point plateau in the 23 games he played with L.A. Not to mention the 18 points and five assists in a win against the New York Knicks.
Season lowlight: There were two. Performance-wise, it was Bazemore going 8-for-19 from the field in a loss to Indiana and causing Pau Gasol to rail about his selfish play in the postgame locker room. But the bigger blow was him suffering a torn tendon in his right foot with only five games left in the season and requiring surgery that will sideline him for months when he could be working on developing his game for next season.
Final grade: A-minus
Notes: Bazemore played with the kind of unabashed, foot-on-the-pedal athleticism that the Lakers tried to cajole Johnson into playing with at the start of the season. While there were plenty of times when Bazemore needed to be reeled in, that proved to be a preferred undergoing for the coaching staff than trying to get Johnson ramped up. The second-year swingman never shied away from big moments, either, which impressed the Lakers' brass looking for leaders to establish themselves amid the myriad one-year contracts on the roster.
Quotable: "I was like shocked. Like, 'Oh no, not again.' So I just fell and cried a little bit." -- Bazemore after suffering his season-ending foot injury.
What's next? The Lakers need only to extend a $1,115,243 million qualifying offer to make Bazemore a restricted free agent this summer, thus allowing them to match any competing offer from the free-agent market and keep him in L.A. Expect that to happen.