Skip to main content

Utah Jazz Player Profile: Fresh Start for Darius Bazley in SLC

How does the new Utah Jazz acquisition of Darius Bazley fit with his new club?
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Early Monday morning, the Utah Jazz made a series of moves to bolster their depth in the short and potentially long term. The Jazz handed out three-year non-guaranteed contracts to Darius Bazley & Kenneth Lofton Jr. To make room for these additions, the Jazz waived Otto Porter Jr. and, presumably, Taevion Kinsey.

Darius Bazley is a 23-year-old forward who spent the first 3.5 years of his career playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s played a combined 10 games for the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers since. The contract is reportedly a three-year, non-guaranteed contract, allowing Jazz to keep him around if he impresses the organization while not hamstringing their flexibility. This is exactly the type of low-risk, high-reward move that rebuilding teams can make to possibly find pieces that stick.

Bazley spent most of this season in the G-League, where he was one of the standout players for the Delaware Blue Coats. Sporting averages of 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game, Bazley has earned another shot to prove himself in the NBA. Before this year, his best season came in 2020-21 with the Thunder, where he averaged 13.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest. 

Throughout his NBA tenure, Bazley struggled with efficiency, shooting just 41% from the floor and 31% from behind the arc. In the G-League this year, he upped his efficiency to 47% from the floor despite still struggling from downtown. Hopefully, this is a sign of improvement for Bazley and an area that will translate for the Jazz.

Still young, Bazley is an athletic forward whose versatility can create mismatches for defenses. He’s big enough to punish smaller defenders but quick and skilled enough to break down bigs. Bazley fits the Jazz’s team-building philosophy due to his positional size, functional athleticism, and hypothetical two-way versatility. At 6’9 with a 7’ wingspan, he can play any of the frontcourt positions, though he’s ideally a modern power forward.

As I previously alluded to, the jump shot has yet to improve consistently. Bazley shot just 30% on his 142 3-point attempts this year in the G-League, which is on par with his previous four seasons. His form looks good and he’s a willing shooter, the results just haven’t been there yet. The good news is that he could score the ball more efficiently despite the deep ball not falling at a higher rate.

One interesting note is that Bazley was selected with the 23rd pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, a pick that the Utah Jazz originally owned. After the Mike Conley trade and an additional draft night move, Bazley ended up in OKC. Hopefully, he will finally be able to carve out a role for a team that had a loose connection to him on draft night. Bazley’s signing gives the Jazz another variable to monitor down the stretch of this season.

Follow Inside The Jazz on Facebook and X

Subscribe to YouTube for breaking Jazz news videos and live streams!