Oklahoma City Thunder forward Darius Bazley turns 20 today. It was a little less than a year go that many of us were asking why Sam Presti would draft a kid who spent a year away from competitive basketball.
At best, he was a project at worst he was another failed experiment to go on the scrap pile with Cameron Payne, can't get right Mitch McGary. Wrong on both accounts while Bazley's numbers aren't eye-popping at 4.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, there is no question he is exceeding expectations.
Bazley has length, athletic skill, and a maturity far beyond the 20 years he's been on this earth. Whatever he may have missed by spending a year away from competitive basketball to intern at New Balance, is being made up for by watching Danilo Gallinari play, and the work he's doing with the Oklahoma City coaching staff.
Donovan says, "A young player like that is going to have ups and downs, but the biggest thing for me is he's's playing with good energy and motor."... "That's on me as a coach to try to eliminate a lot of the times where he's's maybe having to overthink things, where he can just go out there and play. He's's going to make some mistakes, but they'll be mistakes that are aggressive. Those will be the ones he'll get to learn from."
"I feel comfortable playing him, and he's's going to get a chance to go through this." Bazley suffered a knee bone bruise in February, which caused him to miss the Thunder's last 11 games before the NBA shutdown.
However, there was a video of him playing in the Skinz League in Edmond, which leads you to believe he'll be ready to go when the Oklahoma City resumes their season in late July.