10 Things to Know About Kent Bazemore's 2017-18 Season
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images
1) Kent will pick your pocket. Bazemore led the Hawks (and finished 14th in the NBA) with 1.5 steals per game.
2) Need a game-winning shot? Kent has your back. Bazemore dropped in a game-winner over the long, outstretched arms of Anthony Davis to help the Hawks to a 93-92 win over the Pelicans on Jan. 18.
3) Kent was Mr. Career High. Bazemore set career highs in three-point percentage (.394) as well as in points per game (12.9), assists (3.5), steals (1.5), blocks (0.7), and threes made (2.7).
4) When the roster got younger last summer, Kent took over the mantle of leadership and he's ready to be an even better leader next season.
"I took this season to really learn how to become a leader, both with (my) play and verbally. I learned a lot there. Down the stretch (after being sidelined by a bone bruise), I was hanging with the coaches, sitting at dinner with them and coaching along side them a little bit. I learned so much this year."
5) Kent came up large in a key hustle stat. Bazemore finished 7th among Eastern Conference players in deflections per game (2.8).
6) Even in a tough season, Bazemore remained the most enthusiastic sideline cheerer when he was on the bench. And the Baze Gaze lived on, too, with the season highlight coming when the gave Dennis Schröder the Salt Bae treatment with a handful of candy.
7) A key off-season goal, in his own words:
"I'm going to do a lot of upper body and core stuff. That was already on my summer agenda. (I want) to get stronger in the shoulder area so I can finish a lot better around the basket."
8) Kent saved his best game for Golden State. Bazemore never shrunk from even the best level of competition. Against the Warriors on Mar. 2, Bazemore made 10 of 16 shots en route to a career-high 29 points against the defending champs.
9) Until a late-season bone bruise to his knee, Kent was enjoying the healthiest season of his career. Bazemore played in 64 of the first 65 games of the season.
10) With good health, Baze turned back into the best version of himself. Hampered by nagging injuries in the 2016-17 season, Bazemore averaged 1.05 points per possession in transition.
With healthier legs in 2017-18, Bazemore turned back into a fast-break juggernaut, scoring 1.31 points per transition possession. Per NBA.com, that mark put him in the 87th percentile among all NBA players (and he did it on a high volume of attempts).