After going through what it would look like for the 21-year-old Darius Bazley to shine, it’s time to talk about what will happen if he doesn’t.
Firstly, it’s important to point out that Bazley has had some decently unrealistic expectations nearly his entire career. Drafted with the 23rd overall pick just a short season before a rebuild, Bazley has had lofty expectations placed on him to perform.
And as a 39 percent shooter from the floor through two seasons, he hasn’t. And that’s okay.
But should he continue to not progress on the efficiency side of his game, he’ll soon be in a much different role.
In a 6-foot-8 frame with a 7-foot wingspan, Bazley has projected to be a lengthy rim runner with the ability to guard a couple positions decently well.
He averaged 5.6 points in his rookie season before jumping to 13.7 in his sophomore year. The kicker was an almost identical shooting percentage from the field and a drastic drop in 3-point percentage on more attempts.
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With general manager Sam Presti in charge, it’s safe to assume that only a few pretty specific pieces to the rebuilding puzzle are untouchable. And while Presti is smarter than giving up on Bazley before he even turns 22, it won’t take long after that for his stock to plummet.
Should Bazley hang around that middle of the pack, borderline-starter role, Presti will have other options with him.
Despite not living up to his unrealistic expectations thus far, Bazley has been a pretty solid 23rd overall pick on defensive upside alone, and would be a valuable bench contributor for any team looking for size.
Bazley has two pathways ahead of him this seasons, and Thunder fans will be monitoring closely to see which one he takes.
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