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Opinion: Darius Bazley’s Upside Heavily Outweighs the Downside

Darius Bazley's upside is high, and he could be in for a big third year with Oklahoma City.

There’s plenty of negatives floating around about Thunder forward Darius Bazley’s career thus far.

Inefficiency, shooting and attitude to name a few.

But for every downside there’s been to Bazley’s game, there is tremendous upside.

The chances Bazley could be a perennial bench player could be decent. But at 21-years-old with plenty of time left to blossom, Bazley’s upside needs to be discussed more.

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.

One plus: he tripled his free throw attempts and shot about the same percentage from the line.

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.

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But Bazley’s speed and ability to create separation from defenders have been quite a surprise. Thus far, it hasn’t yielded results in his game, just 39 percent shooting from the floor, but the benefits would be astronomical.

A lengthy, athletic floor spacer with the ability to guard nearly every position may sound familiar to longtime Thunder fans.

Of course, Bazley isn’t expected to be an all-time great scorer, but the potential to get into the same atmosphere could be there.

Should Bazley get his efficiency up (way up) and continue his upward trend on the defensive end of the court, you can stop the search for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s co-star.

At the risk of getting the hopes up of a few offseason readers, I think we’re in for a big year from Darius Bazley.


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