Bazley's Improvement Gives Thunder Another Weapon off the Bench

Erik Gee

I don't like making generalizations about what's going to happen in the Thunder's restart, based on the three scrimmages they just wrapped up. That being said, it's hard not to be excited by what Darius Bazley is showing us. 

Bazley averaged 14 points in 24 minutes during the second preseason, but the stats don't tell the whole story when it comes to his development. Billy Donovan credits the time off as to why we've seen improvement in Bazley as well as some of the Thunder's other young players. 

"I say this all the time with young players when you have a period in time that these guys play a lot of games and there is a long layoff, they have a lot of information that they are going through for the first time that they can process and get better."

"Darius has gotten physically stronger, and he’s done some good things. So it’s nice to see that those guys have improved when we’re all away from the game for several months.”

Bazley has never been afraid to go inside against bigger players, now he has the size to take them on and draw fouls. But, to be truly effective with his newfound strength Bazly will need to improve on his 68 percent free-throw shooting percentage. 

While Bazley is happy with his own growth he is still focused on the team first. "I think we’re in pretty good shape. We definitely have things we need to work on. These scrimmages don’t count, but now we’re going into something that does." 

"Every game is going to matter, whether it’s seeding play or the playoffs"..."We did some good things, we did some bad things."... "I think we can still grow.”

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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past six seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.